G'day Sunderland Fans.
I'm a keen Sunderland fan, living on the other side of the world in Australia. Each month, or whenever I can be bothered, I'll be writing about what the view from Australia, a country which doesn't really embrace the Black Cats, is on this great club. Or what it is in my opinion. The beauty of living in Australia is that, away from all the hype, you don't get caught up in too many rumours, and can be as honest as anybody. So here goes the first edition of The View from Oz
January is a time of hope for football clubs. it's when we dream of bringing in a solid defender to help avoid relegation, a midfielder to steer the ship, a striker to score the vital goals, or Lionel Messi, because he is pretty damn good. And to sunderland, it's no different. This january, Sunderland, though sitting pretty in 13th, are only 4 or 5 points above the drop. To make sure 2013/14 doesn't require me too fork out even more money in order to watch our games in the championship, Sunderland needs to get some good players in, and some bad players have to go. Here they are.
Goalkeeping: None. Simon Mignolet is fantastic, and unless he gets snapped up by a club, we are fine. Westwood proved himself last season as well, so as far as the man in Orange/Blue is concerned, we are fine.
Defence: In my eyes, the big one. John O'Shea and Carlos Cuellar have both put in blinders this year, and have shown us why we got them in the first place. But too many times have they failed us, got injured or both, and led to poor old Simon picking the ball up from the back of our goal and thinking 'We need better defence'. So a Centre Back is crucial. But not a has-been centre back that will maybe do the job for a year or two. We need a CB who is talented now, and can do the trick now, but young enough to steer the ship for years. A 24 year-old, tall, athletic leader would be perfect.
Left Back is fine, unless Tottenham take our Danny. We need him. Danny Rose has been our best this year by far. And Right Back, well its been a bit shaky, but in just a month I think we need to spend our money more wisely. Instead of putting Gardner in there, I'd like to see Larsson have a crack; He has played their before, it would enable him to get up the pitch in a wide position, and keeps his free kicks and corners on the field.
Midfield: I think we just need more depth. Craig Gardner, Stephane Sessegnon, Seb Larsson and Adam Johnson are all good enough players, but if a few of them get injured we are stuffed. With Catts on the sideline already, and probably going to give away countless red cards when he comes back, we just need a few more numbers.
Forwards: Steven Fletcher has been amazing, a god-send. Without him we'd be talking about how we will cope in the championship next year. However, what we need is a young, tall talent who can both accept he is going to play second fiddle to Steve, but someone who will push him for his spot. Benteke anyone?
Goalkeeping: No one!!!! Although there are rumours going around, lets hope these don't come to fruition.
Defence: Matt Killgallon. Every time he plays I get nervous. Every time. And I'm not forgetting that miss against Norwich anytime soon either. He shows glimpses of being a good player, but to be honest, glimpses are not enough. Titus Bramble also needs to go. As much as I love the big lad, he just isn't that good. i want to see him succeed, but he isn't going too anytime soon. Not in red and white atleast.
Midfield: People will hate me for this, and after signing a new deal I know it isn't possible, but Lee Cattermole. He seems like a great leader, and that may be enough for him to hang on, but he isn't that good a player. He puts in a blinder every now and then, but for the number of injuries he gets added to all those suspensions, I don't know if he is worth it. We would need to get a decent central midfielder capable of defending before he left, and with Alfred N'Diame or whoever he is coming in, we might already have a replacement. Above all, I hate the heart attacks I get on the couch every time he makes a challenge. I always think he is going to see red.
Forwards: If we don't bring in anyone, then nobody. We simply do not have the depth. If we do, then probably Louis Saha or Frazier Campbell has too go. I love Frazier, and want him to play, but he doesn't seem to feature in MON's set up anymore. He can come on and score, but he has fallen behind a fellow Conor. And for the potential he has, I do not think he fancies sitting on a bench each week. Saha is old and has never really threatened the scorers. Handy to have, but I don't think anyone would cry if he left.
So thats the view from Oz this week/fortnight/month. Bring in some centre backs, a few strikers, and sure up the midfield. With MON already signing one player, we can dream of a strong squad. What do you think? Who do we need?