Many outside observers assumed that Chris Coleman had been promised something resembling a transfer budget in the January transfer window to convince him to leave his Wales post for Sunderland.
After all, would Coleman really put his managerial reputation on the line by taking over a seemingly sinking club sitting bottom of the Championship and without a penny to their name to improve an underwhelming squad? It appears, however, that this is exactly what has happened.
"(Chief executive) Martin (Bain) was brutally honest with me and said there is no money guaranteed for January,” Coleman told the Shields Gazette.
“He was brutally honest with me - there may be no money in January to go and reinvest but that doesn't mean we can't go and strengthen the squad with some loan deals.”
The debt-ridden Sunderland, then, could find themselves relying on the generosity of their bitter neighbours in the New Year.
According to The Chronicle, Sunderland have been scouting Alex Gilliead during his loan spell at League One Bradford City and are hoping to bring the 21-year-old winger to the Stadium of Light on a temporary spell from January.
Newcastle are understood to have high hopes for the homegrown academy alumni and giving him the chance to try his hand at a higher level would be a logical decision – that’s if they can bare to see arguably their most exciting youngster in the black and white stripes of Sunderland.
But with The Black Cats likely to rely heavily on short-term deals, Coleman may be crossing his fingers in the hope that Newcastle will not let local rivalry get in the way of Gilliead’s development.