In case you missed it, this morning we reported on speculation that David Moyes will approach Sunderland owner Ellis Short as a matter of urgency within the next day or so to discuss the state of things within his ravaged squad and to outline his transfer plans.
Sunderland have been keen to minimise expectations on the business they can do in the mid-season transfer window, but with the manager increasingly highlighting how thin his squad is, the begging bowls are out as Moyes chances a last gasp assault on Short's compassion.
Moyes has suggested the American owner is aware of the grim situation at the Stadium of Light, but with supporters turning against the hierarchy and increasingly certain to have the manager in their sights if results do not improve, the pressure is building at Sunderland.
Here's the four names who refuse to go away in the Black Cats gossip-stakes.
The Everton midfielder continued to be linked with Sunderland across various outlets at the weekend, including the Independent. It depends who you prefer to believe as to the nature of any swoop for the Republic of Ireland international.
Some are claiming a loan deal is most likely, despite the Goodison outfit previously being adamant they would prefer the cash for the 26-year-old; whilst others have decided Everton will offer McCarthy in a swap deal for Sunderland centre-half Lamine Kone.
Kone is presently in Africa facing his own fitness battle and will miss Ivory Coast's opening Cup of Nations fixture against Togo which is taking place this evening.
And any short-term move for McCarthy would mean David Moyes sacrificing one of his two current loanees - Jason Denayer or Adnan Januzaj. A situation which is dependent entirely on the terms of the loan agreements between Sunderland and their parent clubs and which looks unlikely.
Everton supporters will tell you McCarthy looks rejuvenated in his bit-part appearances under Ronald Koeman, but doubts remain about his ability to influence games. The Dutchman has suggested he wants to keep the midfielder, but most managers say such things in transfer windows.
This one looks likely - dependent on a mutually beneficial agreement being reached between Sunderland and Middlesbrough. Crystal Palace are the other club said to be in talks for Downing.
Aitor Karanka did not rule out letting the 32-year-old move to a relegation rival when asked last week, though 'boro fans may not be keen to see Downing move up the A19.
The former England man looked decent at Old Trafford in a rare appearance in a Middlesbrough shirt on New Years' Eve, and he appears to be surplus to requirements at the Riverside.
'Jags' set tongues wagging when it was revealed the veteran defender is set to hold talks with Ronald Koeman over his future. The mainstay of the Goodison backline for nearly a decade has lost his place in Everton's starting eleven and may be looking for a move out.
Jagielka was linked with a reunion with David Moyes in the summer, and two clubs are said to be after him in this window - Sunderland and West Ham. Both he and McCarthy have also been mooted as part of a potential deal for Lamine Kone.
The 29-year-old turned down a contract offer at Hull City a month ago, and has been the subject of frenzied transfer gossip ever since. Snodgrass has a host of suitors in the Premier League with Sunderland likely hovering close to the bottom of his chosen destination.
The veteran of spells at Leeds and Norwich before his switch to Humberside has insisted it's business as usual for him amid constant transfer speculation and he produced an influential display in Hull's victory against Bournemouth on Saturday. His £10m price tag likely puts him out of Moyes' reach unless Sunderland can sell a Wahbi Khazri or two.
The Grim Reality?
None of the above can currently join Sunderland on loan. Premier League rules are clear about the number of domestic short-term deals that clubs can agree and Adnan Januzaj and Jason Denayer occupy those two slots.
As at this afternoon at least, it still appears that David Moyes' only available avenue by which to get players in will be scouring the foreign loan and freebie markets. But has Ellis Short agreed to turn the taps back on and fund a surprise swoop for someone?
Also, potential sales of Wahbi Khazri and Lamine Kone may represent the only means by which to raise cash at present. But with both men currently in Africa and the continent's showcase tournament having only just kicked off, would-be suitors are likely to hang-fire and ensure targets at least come through the early rounds unscathed first.
News on mooted quick-wins from flogging Jeremain Lens and Sebastian Coates to their on-loan clubs appears to have abated, and their permanent moves out of the Stadium of Light may now remain unlikely until the summer.