SUNDERLAND’S quest for a new left-back could receive a boost by the end of the week, with the future of target Aly Cissokho expected to be finalised in the coming days.
The Black Cats solved one problem position yesterday when they finalised a season-long loan for Czech right-back Ondrej Celustka from Turkish side Trabzonspor.
But Celustka is still the only specialist full-back at Paolo Di Canio’s disposal, given out-of-favour Phil Bardsley – injured in the Under-21s’ encounter against Bolton yesterday – is expected to join Fulham before the end of the transfer window.
There is renewed hope in Sunderland’s pursuit of Valencia left-back Cissokho though after the Black Cats made an enquiry for the 25-year-old last month.
It had appeared Sunderland’s prospects of signing Cissokho were dead, when the French defender looked destined to sign a season-long loan with Liverpool 10 days ago.
But the Echo understands there is still no deal in place to prise Cissokho away from La Liga.
Cissokho is thought to be still in discussions with two or three clubs, one of which is believed to be Sunderland.
And his agent is due to hold meetings with those suitors later this week, where it is hoped an agreement can be reached.
To increase Sunderland’s chances, Liverpool are reported to have lined up a £5million move for Granada left-back Guilherme Siqueira.
Meanwhile, Celustka became the ninth player added to Sunderland’s first-team squad this summer when his move was finalised yesterday.
The 24-year-old, who can also deputise at left-back and centre-half, arrives initially on loan, although there is an option for Sunderland to sign him permanently next summer.
Former Czech Under-21 international Celustka has made 55 appearances for Trabzonspor in two years in Turkey after making his name at Slavia Prague.
Sunderland saw a move for their first-choice right-back target Gino Peruzzi fall through last month after the Argentine failed a medical on Wearside.
Speculation continues over whether Sunderland will make a renewed bid for Peruzzi, but it is understood that the 22-year-old’s injury is a serious one.
Celustka has offered Sunderland a contingency plan and he is now in contention to start Sunderland’s opening Premier League encounter against Fulham on Saturday, with makeshift defender Craig Gardner suspended for the visit of the Cottagers.