Moyes On The January Window
With the January transfer window opening four weeks on Sunday, David Moyes has been speaking about what he needs to bring in to maintain Sunderland's Premier League status, and the emphasis will be on adding a layer of quality to the hard-working, but limited, team.
Quoted in the Northern Echo, Moyes said:
I think we need to add a level to take us up a notch.
The club have always had a resolute group of players because of the way Sunderland have kept themselves in the Premier League.
Whether the cash is available for the Sunderland boss to bring in that quality remains to be seen. Certainly Moyes will have to wheel and deal somewhat in the market to readjust his squad for the second half of the season and that will surely involve some selling.
West Ham are strongly rumoured to remain interested in Lamine Kone and a fee of £15m seems to be widely accepted as roughly what the defender may fetch, with Everton still potentially lurking having failed to land the Ivorian in the summer.
Moyes has also admitted he may be powerless to stop a big-money offer tempting the club into selling Jordan Pickford. However, he has suggested the 22-year-old England 'keeper may be well advised to remain at the Stadium of Light to continue his progress by racking up first team experience.
The club also have options in the loan market. Both of the domestic slots are filled - by Jason Denayer and Adnan Januzaj; but only one foreign loanee is currently with the club - right-back Javier Manquillo - so Moyes has potential routes to add to the squad by scouring the European market for temporary fixes.
When Is A Director Of Football Not A Director Of Football?
Hopefully when it's not one in the mould of Roberto De Fanti or Lee Congerton. After two significant failed experiments with the DOF model, Sunderland have announced the appointment of a third.
Or have they?
Well, no. The key difference is in the job title. Simon Wilson will join the club on the 1st January as Chief Football Officer.
Wilson, who has been at Manchester City for a decade, having been poached from Southampton, will oversee recruitment and the development of the academy with Moyes retaining the final say over transfers.
Wilson has built a career in the field of performance analytics in football and his current employer, Manchester City, are global leaders in that field.
The thirty-something-year-old started at Preston before moving to Southampton and has worked closely with Prozone who are one of the original pioneers of tracking and performance software which is now used extensively in football.
The move also explains, and almost completes, the restructure that Chief Executive, Martin Bain, has pushed through at a pace since his arrival in July.
Last week it was announced that academy manager, Ged McNamee, would step down from his post having been at the club for twenty years; and earlier in the summer Ryan Sachs, who held the position of Football Operations Director, departed the Stadium of Light, having previously been the Club Secretary.
Bain has also recently overseen the departure of club doctor, Dr Ishtiaq Rehman, as well as assistant academy boss Danny Philpott.
The official announcement on Simon Wilson's appointment states he will:
...support chief executive Martin Bain and manager David Moyes to create and drive a cohesive approach to all areas of the club's football operations.
The statement goes on to continue the rhetoric about rebuilding and shaping the structure of the club that Moyes and Bain have been repeating since both were installed in the summer:
In Simon we are bringing someone to the club who has a highly impressive track record of putting the building blocks in place in order to give clubs the best chance of achieving success.
Harnessing his knowledge and experience in developing football infrastructures at the highest level, will us a great platform from which to re-define our approach to the fundamental areas of the club such as scouting, recruitment, medical services, player pathways and youth development
One thing is for certain, he will need to hit the ground running. Martin Bain has now fully and effectively put his stamp on the club. Exciting times? Possibly, but with the new regime now fully in place, the work has only just begun.
The Sunday Papers
Completing the post mortem into Saturday's defeat at Liverpool, here's what the national press made of Sunderland's hard fought, but ultimately reward-less trip to Anfield.
The Independent consider that Jurgen Klopp's description of Sunderland as the 'most defensive' he had seen in his life should offer some comfort to David Moyes, who spent a decade on Merseyside with Everton:
It should encourage Moyes that Sunderland are at least beginning to show some of the fundamental characteristics that made his Everton teams horrible to play against.
They also add
"Sunderland’s performance had, indeed, been Moyesian to the core until Origi’s intervention".
The Telegraph describe the "overwhelming wave of relief" at Anfield when Divock Origi hit Liverpool's first goal.
The Sun are complimentary and reckon "Sunderland gave a good account of themselves" and that the most negative side Jurgen Klopp has ever seen "were twice denied by Loris Karius in the Liverpool goal as they chased a third straight Premier League win."
The Daily Star feature Phil Neville's comments about the disparaging remarks the Liverpool boss made about Sunderland:
For a team like Sunderland to go to Anfield and play wide, expansive football and play out from the back - Watford did it a couple of weeks ago and were 3-0 down after 20 minutes.
So I think he [Klopp] was being a little bit disrespectful there.