SUNDERLAND are still hopeful of sealing a deal for Marcos Alonso, despite reports in Italy that Fiorentina want to keep hold of the left-back.
The Black Cats have spent the entire summer looking to re-sign last season’s loanee Alonso, with Modibo Diakite heading the other way in a part-exchange deal.
There were suggestions in Italy yesterday that Alonso had impressed Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella sufficiently in pre-season that the Serie A outfit were looking to keep hold of the Spaniard.
But Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet rubbished talk that the deal was dead when asked about the speculation over Alonso.
“It’s close, but not close enough,” said Poyet.
“Everything is on track.
“It’s just like I explained before. These deals for everything to come together, so many people need to be happy. It’s not that easy.
“We need to look at other things as well because depending on how much you spend on a player, it depends what else you’ve got.
“We’re trying hard. It’s been a bit more difficult than I expected, but we’re not going to stop.”
With only three new signings added to a squad which lost 12 players at the end of last season so far this summer, supporters have grown anxious over the lack of incomings.
And Poyet admits it is a concern that his ranks remain so threadbare, with Sunderland heading to their pre-season trip to Portugal on Friday morning.
“It’s difficult to say how much progress has been made in a number - 50 per cent or 75 per cent,” added Poyet.
“But we’re trying.
“Days go past and there are things that we need to do quickly because Portugal is approaching and we want most of the squad in there.
“My idea was to have probably 20 of my 23 squad in Portugal. That’s not the case.
“I’m working for it and I’m believing, until that changes.
“It’s just an ongoing situation which is not easy.
“The market is only on with big, big signings and big transfers. The rest are all waiting, I don’t know why.
“It’s not my job, so I think it’s better if you ask (sporting director) Lee Congerton.”