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SAFC TransferWipe: A dispirited squad & fanbase; Moyes to discuss targets in next 24 hours?

In Monday's transfer market scene setting - Saturday's defeat highlighted the deficiencies in the Sunderland squad, but the burden of acquiring sufficient resources to launch a refreshed bid for survival is onerous and complicated. Here's the state of play as we understand it.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

Saturday's dreadful defeat exposed David Moyes' desperately thin squad. With a daunting trip to West Bromwich Albion next in the Premier League, not to mention a squad-busting cup replay tomorrow, the hierarchy at the Stadium of Light will be all too aware they need to do something this week to give the place a lift.

In the build-up to Saturday's 3-1 reverse, some had suggested certain Sunderland players might have been unsettled by frenetic transfer talk. And that proved to be the case as Stoke City breezed into town and smashed the place up long before the whistle for the first half had blown.

Patrick van Aanholt appeared rattled all afternoon after a week in which Sam Allardyce made no secret of his desire to reunite with his former left-back. The Dutchman almost took his frustrations out on Adnan Januzaj as more than one Sunderland player expressed their dissatisfaction with their teammates during what turned out to be an awfully long afternoon.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League
Any players you don't want Mark? We're desperate
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Fabio Borini again looked out of sorts - surely there is more to it than merely being denied the chance to take a penalty two weeks ago; and Vito Mannone did his utmost to put off would-be suitors with a poor display. Both Italians have been linked with a return 'home' to Serie A clubs in recent weeks.

Jermain Defoe worked his socks off and scored a consolation, but the face on the Premier League's on-fire, in-demand hit man was all thunder and frustration as the final whistle blew.

David Moyes and Chief Executive Martin Bain have been busy preparing their business case for a survival bid to present to Ellis Short this week. It is understood the Sunderland owner is presently in his native America but contact is penciled in for early this week, likely even before tomorrow's FA Cup replay at Burnley.

In truth, the equations are complex. With little-to-no wriggle room for additional wages, a minuscule cash budget for transfer fees and a strategy dependent on shifting some bodies out, Moyes and Bain are already up against it with little over a fortnight left in this transfer window. The job of convincing Short to invest may not be an easy one for a club who have already proclaimed the coffers are empty.

And with an injury-ravaged squad hit hard by the African Cup of Nations, both Premier League loan slots occupied, and a side whose morale is sliding by the week - with one win in the last six and twelve goals conceded in the last four - Moyes is under increasing pressure.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

There is a huge catch-22 at play here too, one which is a recurring problem at Sunderland. What Moyes needs now are some experienced heads to add a little quality and composure to his depleted squad. So, the transfer links over the course of the weekend have all been with that in mind. Downing and Jagielka are the two aged sorts who are mooted as being on the cusp of joining the relegation-threatened bunch at the Stadium of Light.

And therein lies the deja-vu dilemma. Sunderland are back to fire-fighting, as they are every season, as they always do. The club which spends its entire life battling to do just enough to stay in the Premier League, can make no plans for the longer term.

As is the case every year, the next two weeks are all that matters, to give the club its best chance at fighting for its life for the next four months - which is all that matters.

Strap yourselves in.