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Captain's Blog: Loan Deals An Annoyingly Persistent Necessity For Sunderland

"Loans will be important", says Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton. He's not wrong, but they are still annoying.

Laurence Griffiths

"Loan market". I am not sure there are two words that fill Sunderland fans with a greater sense of disenchantment.

It's not without reason, in fairness. I'm certainly not going to sit here, pretend I love it, and tell everyone they just don't get it. It's something that I find incredibly and genuinely frustrating.

In recent years we've seen the likes of Danny Rose, Ki Sung-yueng, Danny Welbeck, Jonny Evans and Marcos Alonso come, win a few hearts, and be gone again forever. It is looking like the latest to roll off the conveyor belt will be Fabio Borini, with his apparently endless potential permanent switch showing no real signs of drawing to a conclusion.

Neither, it seems, does Sunderland's utilisation of the loan market. Lee Congerton doesn't speak publicly particularly often, but whenever he does has generally been very clear that borrowing players will be an important part of the club's strategy moving forward.

Now, that in itself isn't a huge deal. Look around the Premier League and it's clear that just about every comparable club are in the same boat. Stoke City have loaned Victor Moses this summer after getting both Oussama Assiadi and John Guidetti on temporary deals last season. West Bromwich Albion have Andre Wisdom, Southampton have Ryan Bertrand, West Ham have Cark Jenkinson. Queens Park Rangers have Mauricio Isla, Newcastle have Facundo Ferreyra. Even Everton and Liverpool currently have players in their squads that they don't own.

So loaning players isn't anything new and it isn't anything unique to Sunderland. It is simply a by-product of the modern game; from the richest clubs stockpiling the young talent and financial fair play seemingly affecting everyone else.

But from a Sunderland point of view, it's still annoying. Deeply so, and there are very club-specific reasons for that.

I can remember writing an article about Sunderland's reliance on the loan market back when Steve Bruce was the manager. If memory serves, at the time we had Sulley Muntari, Ahmed Elmohamady, Nedum Onuoha, Danny Welbeck and John Mensah all on loan. My point then was largely the same as my point now - utilising the loan market is fine, relying on it is not.

And relying upon it is precisely what Sunderland have done a little too much of. It's useful as a short-term trouble-shooting tool. It's ultimately ideal as a means to grab a couple of high-quality additions late in the window to compliment existing strength. After so many years as a Premier League club, you'd have hoped that Sunderland had made the transition from one to the other, but the truth is the club are probably still reliant on loaned players than they were four or five years ago. We haven't moved on.

You could argue that there are signs that the club have finally got that message and have changed their policy towards the loan market this summer. They have done their utmost to make Borini an expensive permanent addition to the squad and, in leaving their loan deals until the last couple of weeks of the window, have given themselves every chance to pick up a couple of pedigree additions who probably haven't been available before now this summer.

As ever with Sunderland, though, it's tough to get excited about good intentions. We have never been short of those. It's delivering upon them which has eluded the club a little too often, in a football sense at least.

It comes down to the same old chestnut with us too - stability. The transition I mentioned before from using the loan market to trouble-shoot to using it to improve is a long-term remit borne of consistent strategy. That's just not something that Sunderland do, is it?

Whatever lays ahead in the long-term for Sunderland, though, I'd say it was a safe bet to expect a bit of a flurry on loan deals between now and the end of the transfer window. As annoying as that is, it's a necessity - an annoyingly persistent one - and considerably preferable to the alternatives right now.

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