PAOLO DI CANIO says he cannot give a moment’s thought to potential new signings with Sunderland’s Premier League status still uncertain.
The new Black Cats head coach has already been linked with several players since taking over the reins at the Stadium of Light at the start of the month.
Lazio defender Modibo Diakite is said to be a potential target - though the player’s agent has confirmed there has been no official approach to date.
And centre-half Valentin Roberge, who plays for Portuguese side Maritimo, has also been linked with a move to the North East. Both are out of contract in the summer and would welcome a move to England.
But Di Canio says all transfer dealings have been put on hold while he focuses solely on ensuring Sunderland have a solid end to their 2012/13 campaign.
“I don’t talk about players who are not in the team, never mind ones who are not at the club,” he told SportMail.
“I haven’t thought about transfers yet – absolutely nothing.
“Everything can change at the moment.
“You can feel safe and then – boom – you can be hit like a hammer.
“We have to make sure that we are safe first. I can’t think about transfers until then.
“Even if we win against Stoke on Monday night and that makes us nearly safe, I still won’t think about transfers.
“I want to be absolutely sure of safety first.”
Di Canio admits that this is not how he would usually prefer to operate when it comes to addressing the need to strengthen a squad.
“Normally, I know, you would start to think about transfers maybe in February but, unfortunately, that is not the case for us,” he said.
“Let’s stay up, and then we can think about those things
“I don’t want to talk about this because I am focused on my players.
“It’s not the time to talk about scouts or strategy for the future.
“That is for the club to talk about, not me right now.”