SUNDERLAND have demonstrated their focus on addressing three priority positions after abandoning a move for Greek winger Charis Mavrias.
As the Echo revealed last week, Paolo Di Canio is keen to land three more players before the end of the transfer window - two full-backs and a creative midfielder.
Panathinaikos teenager Mavrias has become a victim of that hunt, with the protracted pursuit of the Greece international finally reaching a dead end.
The £2.5million move was originally delayed earlier this month due to Mavrias’ abdominal injury, before a meeting on Wearside to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical was postponed.
Panathinaikos had expected Mavrias to travel to England today to finalise his switch to the Stadium of Light.
But the transfer has not progressed since Sunderland returned from Hong Kong on Monday, with Panathinaikos claiming they were not willing to agree to the Black Cats’ proposal to delay the move further.
Since the captures of fellow winger Emanuele Giaccherini and David Moberg Karlsson though, Sunderland have not seen the Mavrias move as a priority.
There has been a feeling at the Stadium of Light for several weeks that Sunderland’s interest in Mavrias may come to nought, and so it has proved.
After adding eight first-team players to the squad this summer, Sunderland are aware of the need to balance the books and offload the club’s dead-wood, while Di Canio’s biggest priority is on the two full-back and creative midfield positions.
Former Everton man Manuel Fernandes could be a role for the latter, with the Besiktas midfielder linked with a £6.5m move to the Stadium of Light in the Turkish press.
Sunderland continue to be credited with an interest in Inter Milan’s Serbian international midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic too.
But it is the two full-back positions that are arguably more pressing, with Sunderland not possessing a specialist in either position, given Phil Bardsley is considered surplus to requirements by Di Canio.
Argentina international Gino Peruzzi was Sunderland’s main target for the right-back slot and his club Velez Sarsfeld continue to insist that his £3m switch to Sunderland could be resurrected after his failed medical.
But Sunderland sources insist the knee injury which caused Peruzzi’s move to be called off is a serious one and will prevent the Black Cats revisiting the deal.