Moyes Reveals He Has Held Discussions With Ellis Short About Budget
Sunderland boss David Moyes has said he hopes he will be able to do some business in January, despite his earlier warning that in its current state, the club would not even be able to afford a player on loan.
The canny Scot was speaking at his weekly press conference yesterday and revealed he has held talks with owner, Ellis Short, about what he might be able to do when the transfer window opens on Monday.
Moyes is no mug and having attempted to absolve himself from much of the blame should Sunderland be relegated, his words heap more pressure on the American owner to either find a few quid for his manager to spend or, as a minimum, reinvest any funds raised through player sales.
The Sunderland boss made it clear a few weeks ago that the reality of his tenure at the Stadium of Light bears little resemblance to the mission he was sold when he agreed to take the job in July. Moyes expressed his dissatisfaction that he had learned he would have nothing to spend in January and that he would probably not have accepted the post had he known this and that the club was for sale.
Headline writers have so far swerved short of declaring yesterday's words as an 'over to you Ellis Short' statement, but Moyes has now set a chain of events in motion by lifting supporter's hopes that he may be able to fund some much needed reinforcements in the coming weeks - if the owner reappears with his cheque book. The Sunderland manager said:
I have spoken with the owner and I think there is a chance that maybe we could look to try and do things - if the right things turn up. So, we can only look and see.
Significantly, the timing sees Moyes' renewed expectation landing on Ellis Short the same day that Jordan Pickford was confirmed as being out for eight weeks. Sunderland's injury record this season has amounted to a state as bad as it's been for a generation, but moreover any plans to raise some funds with a big-money sale of the England goalkeeper-elect have now to be put on the back-burner. Pickford will not return to fitness until February at the earliest - after the window has completed its famed 'slam' shut.
So Who Could He Be Looking At?
Thankfully the Sunderland boss ruled out a move for Joleon Lescott. The 34-year-old had his contract terminated by Greek outfit AEK Athens last month and is available and previously worked with Moyes at Everton.
The veteran defender displayed his dubious attitude to latter-life career choices by cutting short his Grecian adventure because, while he was out with a knee injury, AEK sacked coach and former Newcastle hero, Temuri Ketsbaia. Lescott remarked that once the Georgian had departed "it was kind of a strange feeling for me". So he legged it - dodgy knee or not. Retirement or a move to a Championship side seem his best options now, though the former-England international has declared himself fully fit and in search of a club.
Next, according to the Daily Mirror, Moyes is set to battle Lescott's former club Aston Villa for Manchester United bench-warming goalkeeper, Sam Johnstone. The third choice stopper at Old Trafford is coming up to 24-years-old but has barely made any senior appearances barring spells on loan at Preston and Doncaster, and he must be desperate for a chance in the Premier League.
Sunderland's current two domestic loan slots are occupied by Adnan Januzaj and Jason Denayer; and no more are permitted, but Premier League rules do allow for additional 'short-term' loans of three months - which may be an option. However, with David Moyes possessing Vito Mannone, Michael Domingues and Max Stryjek the position of 'keeper is nowhere the top of his list surely - especially considering the lengths that were gone to in the summer to finally land 'Mika' from Boavista. So a permanent deal may be the only viable option - and again why would Moyes tie up any of his sparse cash on a goalkeeper?
Finally, transfer gossip sites continue to claim Ipswich Town defender, Adam Webster, is Sunderland's 'number one' target in January. Naturally, with the 21-year-old being tipped as the 'next John Stones', David Moyes is the natural choice to link him with. After all, the former-Everton boss was Stones' breakthrough gaffer.
Ipswich have their own financial troubles and may not be in a position to strengthen manager Mick McCarthy's mid-table side - who aren't miles away from being relegation-threatened. So, cashing in a sale-able asset to a Premier League side may be welcomed. Mick loves a shoe-string budget after all.
Psst, and while we're at it - expect to see a transfer rumour suggesting David Moyes is after Webster's goalkeeping teammate, Bartosz 'Bart' Bialowski, in the next few days.
The 29-year-old, 6ft 4in stopper has made 74 appearances for Ipswich having risen through the ranks at Southampton early in his career; and Sunderland are about to be linked with 'Big Bart'. Just saying.