Gus Poyet is facing a race against time to bolster Sunderland’s goalscoring options this season after Lille forward Salomon Kalou opted against a return to the Premier League with the Black Cats.
The Wearsiders had emerged as one of the front runners to recruit the former Chelsea striker, who had previously been linked with moves to the likes of Arsenal, Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur.
But Sunderland’s pursuit of the Ivory Coast international has ultimately proven fruitless after German club Hertha Berlin confirmed that the 29-year-old had completed a £2.4 million move to the Bundesliga side.
Kalou spent six years in England with Chelsea and managed 36 goals in 156 appearances for the club before moving to Lille in France.
The Ivorian has thrived since his cross-Channel switch, scoring 30 goals in 67 league appearances for the Ligue 1 outfit as part of a return that caught the attention of several English sides.
But a return to the Premier League in the future looks highly-unlikely given his age, with Sunderland now forced to look elsewhere for new recruits.
Time is fast running out though, with the Black Cats facing a fight to bring in Fabio Borini from Liverpool.
The Italian thrived on loan at the Stadium of Light last term but has so far failed to complete permanent switch to the North East.
Sunderland are facing competition from Queens Park Rangers to recruit the striker though, while AC Milan have also been linked with a move for the former AS Roma forward.