For all the hope and optimism upon his arrival, Sam Allardyce must quickly be realising just how big a job he has still to do at Sunderland.
Since taking over from Dick Advocaat, Allardyce has seen his Black Cats slump to three defeats, with a 3-0 derby win over Newcastle the only points gained under the former West Ham boss.
However it looks like the second half of Sunderland’s season could be significantly better than the first, with the board at the Stadium of Light set to give Allardyce upwards of a £20m windfall to spend in the January transfer window.
With television money set to reach stratospheric levels from next season, every club is more desperate to secure their place in the Premier League next term.
So who might be on Big Sam’s shopping list as 2016 rolls around?
A favourite under Allardyce at West Ham, Collins isn’t held in such regard by new Hammers boss Slaven Bilic.
At 32 he still has plenty of ability to play at the top however, and is out of contract in the summer so a January switch wouldn’t prove too pricey while bringing some much-needed guidance to the Sunderland defence.
Another who could add an extra bit of quality at the back. Allardyce brought Enrique to English shores when in charge of Newcastle, but after signing for Liverpool and enjoying two seasons in the first team, the Spaniard has fallen out of favour.
Enrique has made just 12 league appearances in the last two and a half seasons, and though the fans might not enjoy seeing a former Magpie join them, he would be highly useful in a relegation fight.
Jesse Lingaard’s tidy goal for Manchester United last week may have done his chances of moving to Sunderland on-loan more harm than good, with a shot at a regular place in United’s first-team looking more likely.
However, if Allardyce can convince Youri Djorkaeff, Ivan Campo and Jay-Jay Okocha to join Bolton, then a move for Lingaard is far from a pipe dream.
QPR face losing Austin for nothing next summer, but could still receive a sizeable fee for him in January, most likely from Premier League teams looking to score their way out of the relegation zone.
Sunderland are very much one of those teams, but the question remains over Austin’s price tag.
Some reports suggest Rangers will sell for as low as £8m, but others say it will be nearer £15m. It all depends how badly Sunderland want a proven top level goalscorer.
Allardyce doesn’t just need a proven goalscorer, he needs pace and a man to supply forwards.
Andros Townsend has fallen spectacularly out of favour with Mauricio Pochettino at Tottenham, and a training-ground flare up seems to have paved the way for a January exit.
Consistency remains a concern for the England winger, but an £8m price tag could prove a bargain for a man who can be exceptional on his day and whose market value would hold.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.
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