Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini admitted after his side's 1-0 defeat at Sunderland that unhappy forwards Robinho and Roque Santa Cruz could be on the move before the transfer window closes on Tuesday.
Mancini hopes to hang on to Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay Given who is wanted by Fulham manager Mark Hughes. But Brazil's Robinho, loaned to Santos in his native country last season, is seeking an escape route and has been linked with Barcelona and clubs in Turkey, while Santa Cruz is another Fulham target.
Mancini confirmed: "I would prefer Shay to stay, but I spoke with Roque and he has two or three situations, and Robinho is the same. We have offers for Roque and Robinho, but I don't know whether they will remain with me."
City suffered their first loss of the season, and conceded a goal for the first time, when Darren Bent slotted a stoppage-time penalty underneath England goalkeeper Joe Hart after Micah Richards had fouled the Sunderland striker. But much of the after-match comment centred on who will be coming and going at the two clubs before the deadline. Mancini, who has spent around £130m of Abu Dhabi-based owner Sheikh Mansour's vast wealth in the current window, hinted it was unlikely he would add to his squad before the deadline.
But Sunderland manager Steve Bruce wants a striker after selling Kenwyne Jones to Stoke and seeing Fraizer Campbell sustain suspected damaged knee ligaments against City. Bruce wants Rennes' Ghana forward Asamoah Gyan, but suggested that hopes of reviving his interest in Wigan's French midfielder Charles N'Zogbia could fail because the asking price "might be too rich".
"It looks as if Fraizer has damaged knee ligaments. With that, it's imperative we try to bring a body in because we're short there," Bruce said. It is over a year since Sunderland last won a league match without Bent scoring and he kept up that trend, much to Mancini's frustration.
Sky Blues fail at Sunderland
City captain Carlos Tevez was guilty of a glaring miss when he shot over an open goal in the 16th minute, and Sunderland were rescued by goalkeeper Simon Mignolet, who brought off a brilliant save from substitute Emmanuel Adebayor late in the game. Mancini said: "Football is very strange. We played some fantastic football in the first-half and we had three or four great chances, but if you don't score you can lose games like this.
"We had a chance with Carlos and we had other situations where we could have scored in the first-half. But you must play until the end. I want to speak to the players when they come back from the international break because, in the second-half, it was too easy for Sunderland to play their football. I would prefer that we had seven points, but we have played only three games. It's important we understand why we lost this game."
Bruce added: "I'm delighted, it was a great performance from us. We rode our luck with the Tevez miss. I don't think he'll miss a chance like that again. "We also needed the keeper to produce a fantastic save. We worked all week on how to stop them playing and in all areas, especially defensively, we were terrific.
"We stood up to the challenge. We started brightly, but we didn't pass it enough and take care of the ball until the second half. You make it hard by giving the ball back to a team like City. I still think City will be there or thereabouts, but there are some good teams in the Premier League and they found that out here."