This transfer window, it's all about one man
The transfer clock is ticking, and the timer which began at the stroke of midnight as the new year dawned, now indicates there is but six days left until the January window does its annual slam shut.
As day twenty-six of the mid-season festival of gossip draws to a close, some positive news at last with reports suggesting Sunderland have made an enquiry to take German-born Bordeaux left-back, Diego Contento on loan for the rest of the season.
And one man dominates much of the rest of today's news. Yep, this transfer window belongs to Sam Allardyce. The bluster-gut is, of course, the master of manipulation and blather, and never one to miss an opportunity to antagonise a relegation rival; so the name of the former Sunderland boss crops up in almost every other transfer story which features his old club. Coincidence? Unlikely.
Here's the latest transfer news as we understand it this evening.
The left-back merry-go-round
Sky Sports are tonight suggesting David Moyes has made a bid to take Bordeaux full-back Diego Contento on loan for the rest of the season. The German-born defender has been in France since 2014, having risen through the ranks at Bayern Munich.
The 26-year-old has been linked with a move to Serie A for some time, but with Sunderland in need of a left-back, this one makes sense for all parties with his time at Les Girondins appearing to have reached a natural conclusion.
Meanwhile, Sam Allardyce apparently still wants Patrick van Aanholt; but he might also want Robbie Brady - which would mean he might not want Patrick van Aanholt after all - or that he might be using the Robbie Brady interest as leverage to have his way with Sunderland over Patrick van Aanholt. One thing that we do know - Robbie Brady doesn't want to come to Sunderland.
Make you own mind up - but where Sam Allardyce rumours and doubt co-exist as a trio, you can generally assume there are elements of fabrication, smoke and mirrors in abundance.
Sunderland are thought to be holding off accepting Crystal Palace's bid for Patrick van Aanholt expecting the Eagles to return with at least one further improved offer. So in the mean time, Robbie Brady is said to be on the verge of a move to Selhurst Park to join Sam Allardyce, but the Republic of Ireland international is also still wanted by Burnley who are monitoring the situation.
Meanwhile, Sunderland are said to have approached Everton for left-back Bryan Oveido but according to the Liverpool Echo that has been rebuffed by Ronald Koeman who is unwilling - at this stage - to sanction an exit for the Costa Rican defender. It's thought David Moyes has enquired about taking the 26-year-old on loan.
Swansea left-back, Neil Taylor, also continues to be linked with a move to Wearside.
Centre-backs to take centre stage
With Lamine Kone due back in England any day now, transfer gossip will ramp up a notch in various club's pursuit of the Ivorian centre-half.
Naturally Sam Allardyce heads the queue for the defender he signed for Sunderland a year ago, but West Ham and Southampton are also said to be interested in bidding for the 27-year-old.
But with Sunderland facing the prospect of losing Papy Djilobodji for a month and having a pick-and-mix assortment of John O'Shea, Jason Denayer and Joleon Lescott lined up for a shot at making a centre-half berth their own, selling Kone looks loaded with risk right now for David Moyes.
Meanwhile, Sunderland continue to be linked with Queens Park Rangers centre-half and sometime right-back, Nedum Onuoha. Scottish giants Rangers and Celtic are also credited with interest in the 30-year-old.
Onuoha was linked with a move to Sunderland last season too; Sam Allardyce was rumoured to be keen on signing the Nigerian during his tenure at the Stadium of Light.
Various reports have today suggested Everton midfielder James McCarthy is not interested in a move to Sunderland because he doesn't fancy being involved in a relegation battle.
The 26-year-old is also wanted by Sam Allardyce, but a move to Crystal Palace would also mean being plunged into a survival mission. So the Republic of Ireland international may yet opt to move to Newcastle instead with the Magpies unlikely to be involved in a relegation battle this season at least.
Sam Allardyce is still said to be chasing former Sunderland loan star Yann M'Vila, as are Hull City. Rumours abound that the Frenchman, who signed a new contract at Rubin Kazan a couple of weeks ago, has an £11m buy-out clause in the deal on which the ink has yet to dry.
Meanwhile, Charlie Adam is still being linked with Sunderland and Fenerbahçe. Turkish media are unimpressed however, with one outlet disgusted that Dick Advocaat is keen on signing the man they're calling the slowest player in the Premier League. No sign of Sam Allardyce in this one yet, though the night is but young.