Sunderland remain ‘hopeful’ of securing a last minute deal to bring Aston Villa striker Ross McCormack to the Stadium of Light before the transfer window slams shut at 11pm tomorrow night.
Sunderland remain hopeful of bringing in Ross McCormack on loan but that one is likely to be a Deadline Day deal.— Keith Downie (@SkySports_Keith) August 30, 2017
Whilst reports suggesting negotiations had restarted with the West Midlands club to also bring in surplus-to-requirements defender Tommy Elphick on loan, were swiftly followed by claims the centre half will be staying put at Villa Park.
And that seems to be the sum total of incoming player gossip as we approach the final 24 hours of what looks set to conclude as a monumentally disappointing summer which promised to deliver a refreshed, rebuilt squad.
The Black Cats have been in talks with Villa for weeks to secure a season-long loan arrangement for Scotland international McCormack - since late July in fact. The deal has been said to hinge all along on the player’s wage demands and how much each club will pay towards them.
Reports in the West Midlands earlier claimed another unidentified Championship club have joined Sunderland and Leeds as vying for the 31-year-old striker’s signature whilst others claim the Black Cats remain in pole position to seal the deal tomorrow.
A painfully similar waiting game has panned out over Sunderland's on-off pursuit of 29-year-old centre back, Elphick.
Elsewhere, Wahbi Khazri has departed Wearside to conclude talks with either Ligue 1 side Rennes or rivals Toulouse and according to reports from across the channel, the 26-year-old playmaker has already passed a medical at the former.
A couple of youngsters have either concluded - or are in the process of concluding - loan exits for the duration of the season with Michael Ledger off to Hartlepool and Max Stryjek set to join Accrington Stanley; and Sunderland are more than likely still clinging on to the hope that someone out there will swoop in with cash tomorrow for either Lamine Kone or Didier Ndong.
Previous links to strikers Jordan Hugill and Jordan Rhodes appear to have died away and supporters on Wearside are now resigned to spending transfer deadline day hopeful of hearing the club has sprung a surprise rather than whiling away the remaining hours of the window glued to news outlets in anticipation.
Of course, it was always meant to be this way. With the club still up for sale and a buyer being sought as soon as possible after this week's trading - or lack of - is complete, carrying the liabilities of player contracts is intended to be minimised and with it, any purchases.
Simon Grayson will have to make do, though he clearly knew this all along. Perhaps the Sunderland manager’s rhetoric has subtly shifted as the summer progressed and none of us really noticed.
From boasts that the 'phone never stopped ringing' giving way to 'coaching the best out of those who remain', the claims made earlier in the window by the Black Cats boss that he won’t be working with the smallest budget in the Championship look somewhat hollow right now with a spend of just £1.25m on the seven players brought in.
Yesterday’s incoming transfer gossip was restricted to a link to Motherwell defender Ben Heneghan but Blackburn are said to be in continued talks over securing a deal for the 23-year-old's services after having an initial bid of £250,000 rejected.
Perhaps the most telling indication of how the last gasps of the transfer window will pan out is the fact that the detail of each of Sunderland’s signings so far this summer has leaked in the media prior to their arrival.
As at tea time this evening, it’s all very very quiet.