January Move For Brady and Long?
Sunderland have been extensively linked with a January move for Norwich City player Robbie Brady. The 24-year old is widely touted as a Moyes-type player – hard working, with Premier League experience and from the British Isles.
Brady was strongly rumoured to be about to move to Leicester in the summer, but the Foxes baulked at Norwich’s supposed £20m asking price. The Republic of Ireland international can play on the left side of midfield or more centrally as a number 10.
In truth, he has followed up his impressive showing at Euro 2016 with a muted start to Norwich City’s Championship campaign and as such the Canaries may be willing to sell in order to fund a January strengthening spree.
The player himself has made no secret of the fact he wants a return to the Premier League as soon as possible and if Sunderland look likely to drop come January, and Norwich look good for promotion, he might not fancy it much.
Sunderland are certainly a side in need of some fresh attacking impetus and that fact, plus the Moyes-type player angle, are probably where this one stems from. It was our good friend, Telegraph journalist Luke Edwards, who appears to have been the first to run the rumour so it’s anyone’s guess how valid it actually is.
Edwards has also linked us with Southampton striker Shane Long, and all of the above applies to that rumour too, but would he swap the Saints bench for ours?
Moyes On Message
David Moyes was on press conference duty this morning and Sunderland are starting to feel like a club run by two men – Moyes and Chief Executive Martin Bain. Owner Ellis Short has never occupied a huge presence in his role as Chairman, but the public face of Sunderland AFC is increasingly presented by the manager and CEO.
And so it is that Moyes echoed words already uttered by Bain in the interview the Chief Executive did earlier in the week, the Sunderland manager said:
We're still trying to find our identity. Big Sam did a great job in keeping them up when they looked doomed, but everybody's been fire-fighting.
We need to show that we're playing for the people in this area and engage with the supporters. But you have to remember that there have been half a dozen or so managers recently. It'll take a bit of time.
That triple-facet of engaging with fans, establishing an identity and building the club seem to be the message at present and it’s clear the two men are working in tandem:
The plan is to first of all make everybody realise that there is a long-term plan and get away from the thought that it’s going to be something other than that, so we are working together to change things.
Martin is doing an awful lot of things behind the scenes which won’t necessarily always be noticed because obviously, what you will really judge us on is what you see on the grass at the moment. I’m the one who has got to get the bit on the grass right.
For how much longer they can present this united front remains to be seen. A continuation of the current poor run will inevitably lead to the chop for Moyes at some point this season if the threat of relegation begins to look desperate.
Clear The Air Talks
For a squad who relentlessly discuss the team spirit at Sunderland and hail it as ‘good’, the fact the players held ‘clear-the-air’ talks this week suggests all is not so well after all.
Steven Pienaar in an interview with the local press said:
We all know the situation, we had our own get together and spoke about the issues we have as a team and what we need to do to get out of this situation. Everyone is open-minded and we sat there and cleared the air – hopefully it will help us to move on.
In isolation, after a run of eight games without a win to start the season, it might have passed without much comment; but coupled with some of the body language on the pitch and interviews like the one Jermain Defoe did earlier in the week, in which he looked distinctly unhappy, such comments merely add to the unease in the air around Sunderland at the moment.
As with all clear-the-air talks – they’ll only be shown to work if we win tomorrow. Lose and it’s back to the drawing board.
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