• Internazionale’s Álvarez earmarked for left-wing role
• Liverpool’s Coates preferred to move for Micah Richards
• Transfer deadline day – live!
For a region which is supposed to be one of English football’s “hotbeds” the north-east experienced a frustrating day, with key targets eluding Newcastle United and Sunderland.
At the Stadium of Light Gus Poyet did at least complete the signings of Ricardo Álvarez and Sebastián Coates on season-long loans from Internazionale and Liverpool respectively.
Although Álvarez has joined with a view to a £9m transfer next summer, the Argentina winger or playmaker looks something of a second-choice signing in the wake of Fabio Borini’s refusal to join Sunderland in a mooted £14m deal agreed with Liverpool in July.
The 26-year-old will now be expected to fill the left-sided attacking slot filled by Borini during the Italian’s loan stint at the Stadium of Light from Anfield last season. Poyet had long hoped that Borini would finally agree to sign for Sunderland but instead he stalled for weeks before heading to Queens Park Rangers at the 11th hour. Now, though, Álvarez has a chance to prove that his undeniable gifts outweigh a reputation for inconsistency acquired during his time in Serie A.
Coates’ progress on Merseyside was stalled in the wake of a serious knee injury but Poyet believes the 23-year-old – who has won 15 senior caps for Uruguay – can challenge John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Santiago Vergini for a first-team place. The Sunderland manager’s faith in Coates is such that he is understood to have told his board to pursue the Uruguayan ahead of Manchester City’s Micah Richards.
Valentin Roberge and Modibo Diakité are two centre-halves who made little impact after being brought in by Sunderland’s former director of football Roberto De Fanti last summer and they have departed. While Roberge returned to his native France for a season-long loan at Ligue 1 Reims, Modibo, formerly of Lazio, had his contract cancelled. He is expected to join Fiorentina.
Another north-east-based defender heading to Italy was Newcastle United’s Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. The France international, formerly with Montpellier, will spend the coming campaign at Roma and, to Alan Pardew’s dismay, will not be replaced by an incoming central defender.
Pardew succeeded in his attempt to offload Hatem Ben Arfa, who joined Hull City. Newcastle’s manager has been at loggerheads with the France creator, but getting rid of him was a high-risk strategy given he did not sign a forward.
Ben Arfa, exiled from Newcastle’s first team, turned down a transfer to Turkey’s Besiktas at the weekend and then a loan to the Championship club Birmingham on Monday. Undeterred, Pardew instructed his board to “do whatever it takes” to shift a player who remains extremely popular with Newcastle fans and, despite Ben Arfa reiterating his long-standing determination to stay at St James’ Park, agreed a move to Hull.
Pardew had hoped to greet a new striker but the chances of one arriving looked to be receding as the hours passed. Earlier the club had withdrawn from tentative discussions about borrowing Danny Welbeck from Manchester United when the size of the loan fee became apparent and are believed to have had little interestein transplanting Jermain Defoe from Toronto to Tyneside.