Sunderland will look for overseas recruits during the January transfer window, primarily to tighten their leaky backline, manager Sam Allardyce has said ahead of Wednesday's Premier League encounter with Liverpool.
The Black Cats have already shipped 37 goals in 18 games this campaign, the most in the league, and four successive league losses has left them second from bottom in the table, five points adrift of safety.
"Probably, it'll have to be from abroad, by the looks of what's about and available in this country," Allardyce told British media.
"I think it would be very difficult to secure a player from any club in the Premier League because I don't think they'd want to let anybody go," he added.
"So, for me, it looks like it might be from abroad, and then see where we go from there.
"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 defender's my first priority, a central defender.
"Then we'll move on from there. Whether we can find one good enough is another matter."
Allardyce also said his side were destined to be relegated if they did not regain their killer instinct in front of goal.
"At the top end, we're not looking very clinical with the chances we had," the former Bolton Wanderers and West Ham United manager said.
"In the end, until we stop the goals going in and give ourselves an opportunity like we did at Crystal Palace (a 1-0 win in November), then we've got no chance.
"We're making far too many mistakes at the minute."
(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)