Sunderland are in the midst of a frustrating waiting game to add three fresh faces to their squad before next week’s transfer deadline.
With only seven days remaining of the window, SportMail understands that Sunderland are in negotiations with several potential targets, but no-one is on the verge of sealing a move to the Stadium of Light at this stage, despite the clear need for further recruits.
Congerton is having to operate with a limited budget.
Sporting director Lee Congerton and head coach Dick Advocaat have explored a host of options and have lined up several potential deals, including ex-Swansea midfielder Jonathan de Guzman.
But two factors are hampering Sunderland’s efforts.
The Black Cats’ start to the season has made potential recruits wary of moving to the Stadium of Light, and they are biding their time to see if other options become available.
More tellingly though, Congerton is having to operate with a limited budget.
Chairman Ellis Short confirmed on Saturday that Sunderland have spent £21.5million so far this summer, albeit they have recouped £9m from the sale of Connor Wickham.
But with the bumper new Premier League television deal beginning next season, it makes good business sense for Short to further loosen the purse strings to help ensure Sunderland remain in the top flight.
De Guzman - also wanted by Everton, Bournemouth and Marseille - is the closest player to joining Sunderland after the Black Cats reached an agreement with Napoli last week for a season-long loan, with a view to a permanent deal next summer.
Yet despite reports in Italy that the Dutch international had agreed to move to Wearside, he is understood to be still mulling over the proposal, with his agent, Fabio Parisi confirming as much to the Italian media yesterday.
“We will choose the best option for us and for Napoli. Jonathan is an attractive player in the transfer market and we will need a few more days to decide,” said Parisi.
Advocaat is also desperate for a striker after months trying to land a physical targetman.
He is understood to be an admirer of PSV striker Jurgen Locadia, who was forced to issue a public apology yesterday for skipping training, amidst speculation over Sunderland’s interest.
But there was no formal contact between Sunderland and PSV, and Locadia has now pledged to stay in Holland after a meeting with the club and his agent.
Advocaat would also ideally like to add a left-back to his squad to compete with Patrick van Aanholt, while Sunderland are short on numbers on the flanks too, particularly with Adam Johnson sidelined for another month.
“I think we now have the right people who can judge players and what Lee has done with little money so far is a really great job,” said Advocaat yesterday.
“So I can appreciate that - but we need more.”