Poyet poised to go Dutch
Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet is hoping for a transfer breakthrough within the next 24 hours as he closes in on Chelsea full-back Patrick van Aanholt.
Press Association Sport understands the Black Cats are close to striking a deal for the 23-year-old Holland international after becoming increasingly frustrated in their pursuit of Fiorentina defender Marcos Alonso.
Indeed, club officials were hopeful of including Van Aanholt in the party heading off for a pre-season training camp in Portugal on Friday.
The Dutchman, who came through the ranks at Chelsea while sporting director Lee Congerton was at the club, has spent the last two and a half seasons on loan at Vitesse Arnhem.
He has made only nine senior appearances for the Blues and has been sent out on loan to five different clubs, including a month at Newcastle in 2010.
However, he has indicated that he feels his future lies away from Stamford Bridge, and Sunderland are keen to take advantage of his hunger for regular first-team football.
Van Aanholt's capture does not necessarily preclude a continuation of efforts to land Alonso, who proved a key player on loan last season, but it would provide a welcome boost for Poyet whose hopes of sealing a permanent deal for Fabio Borini are also yet to be realised.
In addition, the Uruguayan has confirmed his interest in compatriot and Atletico Madrid midfielder Cristian Rodriguez.
Poyet told the Sunderland Echo: "This week I had a chat with people in Uruguay, who are obviously desperate for Rodriguez to come with us.
"It's ongoing. At the moment, it's a possibility, but it's no more than that.
"He's a player that I admire a lot because he's got power, desire and experience playing with the top teams.
"He wants to play football, he's desperate to be playing week in, week out.
"There are plenty of positives, but there is something you need to do [agreeing a deal] before having a player like that available."
Meanwhile, Sunderland striker Ignacio Scocco has completed his move back to former club Newell's Old Boys.
The 29-year-old, known as "Nacho", has returned to Argentina following a short, but disappointing spell on Wearside.
Scocco joined the club from Brazilian outfit Internacional for £3.2million in January, and is understood to have left for slightly less after failing to score in his eight appearances for the Black Cats.
A club statement said: "Striker Ignacio Scocco has completed a move to Argentine club Newell's Old Boys.
"Scocco, who joined Sunderland in January, has signed a five-year deal with the South American club for an undisclosed fee."