SUNDERLAND will consider recalling Ahmed Elmohamady from loan this month if the club does not make sufficient progress in the transfer market.
The Egyptian winger has been at Steve Bruce’s Hull City since the start of the season and is due to remain there until the end of the campaign.
But Martin O’Neill admitted that the 25-year-old’s recall was a real possibility if the club is not able to add numbers to the squad in the weeks ahead.
That would be a big blow to Bruce’s promotion hopes with Elmohamady emerging as one of his star players in the first half of the Championship campaign.
But if the Black Cats don’t make the breakthroughs Martin O’Neill wants in the January transfer window, the Sunderland manager feels he will have no option other than to strengthen in whatever way he can – even if means recalling Elmohamady as cover.
He said: “The January window is the only chance you get to genuinely strengthen your squad during the season and we have to make the most of it.
“I’ve been speaking to Steve Bruce about David Meyler in recent days and I’ve also talked to him about Ahmed Elmohamady’s situation.
“I’m just going to have to see how that develops.
“And it might be that if we have been unable to add the players I was hoping to add in this window, then we might have to recall Elmohamady.
“As far as his position is concerned, we have an opportunity – a bit like the one with Danny Rose, Tottenham and us – where we have a clause which means we can call him back this month if we want to.
“Hull keeping Elmohamady long-term is something that has not been discussed up to this point between ourselves and them.
“But we have raised the point with them that if can’t get players in, he might have to return.”
O’Neill will be loathe to make that happen – having deemed the left-footed wide-man surplus to requirements at the start of the season.
And both Bruce and Elmohamady would like to see the African see out his loan rather than return to the substitutes’ bench at Sunderland.
But O’Neill will hope that it doesn’t come to that and the club can make the progress it wants in the current window.
The Black Cats have been linked with a firm interest in French midfielder Alfred N’Diaye, currently playing his football with Turkish side Bursaspor.
The 6ft 2ins, powerful, box-to-box player is reported to be available for £2m and Sunderland are said to be ready to make a move.
Another player they were looking at was Marseille striker Loic Remy, a Newcastle United target rated in the £10m bracket, but the Black Cats interest has subsequently cooled and they will be taking it no further.
So far this transfer window there has been more outgoings than incomings for Sunderland - Ji Dong-won having gone on loan to German side Augsberg and David Meyler set to leave on a permanent move to Hull City.
But despite words from Fraizer Campbell’s dad Keith yesterday that his son would favour a move to Hull City, the former Manchester United youth product’s future has not been raised with O’Neill who wants to keep his squad together as much as possible for the remainder of the season.
He said: “Nothing has been mentioned to me about Fraizer in regards to Hull.”
Meanwhile, several clubs are believed to be interested in ending David Vaughan’s involvement with Sunderland this season and the suggestions are that the Black Cats might listen to offers if some of their own targets can be recruited by the month’s end.