Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne has revealed the club are already drawing up a transfer shortlist ahead of the summer transfer window, Sky Sports understands.
Byrne, who was promoted from Legal Director to Chief Executive in 2011, is also a Premier League representative on the FA Council.
Although the best-case scenario would be to bring in new players before the start of the pre-season, the club must have a Plan B and C in order to account for extraordinary cases, argues Byrne.
In addition, Byrne confirmed she looks at possible summer signings in January.
“People sometimes say that the search for new signings begins on February 1, but I think it actually begins earlier than that, it begins in January,” the Black Cats’ former in-house lawyer told the Shields Gazette.
“It begins then because you’re looking at possible signings that can’t happen in that window, but might happen in the next.
“The ideal scenario is to get all the players in before pre-season – that’s something you always hope for – but you aim for it in the full knowledge that in reality it is always unlikely to happen.”
All things considered, Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill is looking to add defensive reinforcements when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
The Black Cats are set to lose loanees Abdou Kader Mangane and Danny Rose in the summer, while the contracts of Matt Kilgallon and Titus Bramble will expire at the end of the season.
O’Neill wants to add two full-backs in the summer, with Phil Bardsley — formerly of Manchester United — the only ‘recognised’ full-back in the Sunderland squad.
Midfielder Craig Gardner has been operating as Sunderland’s auxiliary right-back while Bardsley has been out, with Rose — a former winger — playing on the opposite side of defence.
Despite the lack of defensive options at the Stadium of Light, only Stoke City have conceded fewer goals than Sunderland among the clubs in the bottom half of the English Premier League table.
Gedo keen on Hull City stay
The 28-year-old has scored five goals in five appearances since joining the East Yorkshire-club from Al Ahly in January, with Steve Bruce willing to spend £3 million to secure the Egyptian’s signature.
“I want to delight the Hull fans who have supported me since I came to England,” Gedo told The Mirror.
“I am having a great life here and I want to continue my career in Hull and hope not to go back to Egypt now.
“I have a big need to score more goals for this coach, who has shown so much faith in me, and this team.”
At the moment, Hull City are in second-place — five points behind league leaders Cardiff City — in the English Championship table, which would guarantee the club promotion to the Premier League.