Signing a central defender Allardyce’s “first priority” at Sunderland

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Sam Allardyce has been open about his wishes to spend in the transfer window, as the manager knows he needs reinforcements for Sunderland to stay up in the Premier League.

Former boss Dick Advocaat had trouble getting the support of the board to sign new players, something Allardyce is hoping won’t be the case come January.

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The Black Cats have conceded a league-worst 37 goals this season, so Big Sam knows bolstering his defense is a must when the transfer window opens.

We’ve got to get back to being a resilient defensive unit but the backline and the goalkeeper have to be the ones that ultimately secure those clean sheets, so a central defender is my first priority.

For me, it looks like it might be from abroad, and then see where we go from there.

Whether we can find one good enough is another matter.

Allardyce said it would be hard to sign players from other Premier League clubs, which is why he is focusing his efforts abroad. With an injury to Younes Kaboul and an aging John O'Shea, the center of defense is in need of some fresh bodies.

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Sunderland sit 19th on the table, five points below the drop. They face a tough test when Liverpool travels to the Stadium of Light on December 30 (Watch live, Wednesday at 2:45 p.m. ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).