Moyes Dampens Expectation, But Did He Go Too Far?
In his weekly press conference this morning, David Moyes admitted he won't be able to sign any players in the January transfer window who will make a "big difference".
Certainly it is clear the Sunderland manager is working under the tightest financial restriction seen at the Stadium of Light for a number of years, and indeed probably in the entire Premier League this season - perhaps barring Hull City.
But with his words now poured over and analysed, it wasn't all doom, even if there was a healthy dose of gloom in there.
Let's start with the negative:
I think I’d be kidding you on if I told you that the players we’re going to bring in in January will make a big difference. First of all, we probably couldn’t get that level of player.
Then watch as it gets worse:
Secondly, we probably wouldn’t have the finances to do that.
Then he rubs it in:
I think to suggest that the players we’ll be bringing in will make a big difference wouldn’t be correct.
Despite the headlines, it wasn't all dismally depressing and Moyes did reassure observers that he is doing his utmost to bring players in and that there would be some bodies brought over the line:
I’m not saying we won’t get players who can go straight into the team. I think it just depends a bit on the quality and what’s available. I’d say we’ll probably be looking at loans and free agents as well.
And with a clear belief in himself that he remains the best man for the job in this most trying of jobs in the most testing club in the Premier League, Moyes asked supporters to continue believing in him:
You’ve just got to trust me that I’ll be generating and finding ways to try to balance the books the best I can.
And he did reassure supporters that the club continue to work on bringing in new faces, though he really does qualify every sentence with a negative:
We're trying, we're looking around to see what we can get.
There are some that we are trying but not quite getting there, and there are others where we're hopeful. I'm hoping that we'll get a couple of players in, but we also have to be careful.
Here's the latest on three players who are setting tongues wagging at the moment.
Sunderland's interest in the Republic of Ireland international seems to be over. Certainly the language used in the press has altered somewhat and indicates the pursuit of Brady may not have been as firm as it was made out.
From talk of a £10m bid earlier in the week, reports now appear to claim Sunderland's pursuit of the 27-year-old midfielder - who is being chased by a host of other Premier League clubs - was merely an 'inquiry'.
Reports this afternoon claim Burnley have made a club record bid of £13m for Robbie Brady. If they have offered decent terms, most would expect Norwich to accept an offer in that region. Sunderland are not likely in a position to compete.
The 35-year-old centre-half is now training with Sunderland as David Moyes takes a look at Lescott's potential for a return to the Premier League.
Reports last summer claimed Sunderland had enquired about the availability of Lescott before he decided to chance his arm in Greece with AEK Athens.
Yet it was only three weeks' ago that David Moyes ruled out a move for the defender with whom he worked for several years at Everton. Desperate times.
Yesterday, TransferWipe speculated on who Sunderland may have been watching as reports emerged that David Moyes had sent scouts to Portugal to take in recent Primeira Liga games involving Benfica, Boavista and Belenenses.
Now perhaps we are step closer to finding out who it is, as our very own Andy reported last night:
Benfica midfielder Andreas Samaris is close to signing for #SAFC but his arrival depends on Moyes' keeping his job. https://t.co/SRlfKhZK3l— Andy (@SAFCsource) January 19, 2017
Samaris is a defensive midfielder, currently with Benfica. The Greek international is now in his third season in Portugal, and has turned out for the Lisbon-based outfit over 60 times.
The report linking him is quite specific and claims a deal is close to completion. Samaris supposedly represented by the same agent as current Sunderland goalkeeper, Mika Domingues, who was signed from Boavista in the summer.
The agent in question is said to have hosted the Sunderland representatives last weekend and has now traveled to England to complete the deal; though a sticking point appears to be concerns over the future of the managerial seat at the Stadium of Light, with reports claiming tomorrow's result may be used as an indication of Moyes' ability to keep his job.
The story features in today's edition of Portuguese newspaper, O Jogo, and claims Sunderland are willing to part with 20 million euros for the player, which may be just a little far fetched.
Perhaps a loan deal has been agreed - or Ellis Short has indeed stumped up that injection of cash we have been speculating about all week.