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SAFC TransferWipe: Fantasy-Moyes; 3 Positions He Simply Must Fill In January

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Roker Report's TransferWipe is NewsWipe's Great Aunt. She's come to stay for Christmas and help us preview the upcoming transfer window. Like all 'favourite' family members we'll struggle to get shot of her once the festivities are over, so she'll linger into January. Here's some thoughts on what Moyes needs to prioritise in his wheeling and dealing next month.

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

The TransferWipe

Sunderland - they ain't got no money. You can tell that just from the slowly emerging transfer rumours which are sprouting up with daily growth as January approaches.

We've gone from salivating over Edin Dzeko and Yann M'Vila, in the heady days of summer, to expelling a sigh at a rabble of Championship and random second-rate foreigners being linked of late.

It'll get better. With no clear indication emanating from the Stadium of Light over budget, direction or plans for January, the transfer gossip sites likely don't quite know what to make of David Moyes' intentions. And with pages to fill they have resorted to 'type' and have considered that Moysey likes British and if he looks at foreigners, they'll be hard-working types rather than the flash sort.

In yesterday's inaugural TransferWipes we covered the policy and direction of how this window may pan out, and pondered whether Moyes' fore-stated preference for British players might fully influence his purchasing lean in January.

With that done, we really need to have a think about what Sunderland need next month. A four week window and a limited budget - to firstly fix an injury-ravaged side, particularly in midfield; second, to mitigate for any more nasty surprises and reduce the burden on certain key individuals; and third, to add a much-needed layer of 'quality' to get lifted up the table and ease relegation fears somewhat.

With resources likely to be tighter than they have been for some years, play Fantasy-Moyes with us and ponder where the cash needs to go.


Goalkeeper

If Jordan Pickford is sold, all Sunderland fans will shed a tear. The Washington-born lad is the mackem-talisman. His breakthrough into the Premier League and the England senior set-up is testament to that. Who knows what he's worth but it's likely his value has yet to be maximised and a few quid more could be wrung from any suitor next summer.

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Moyes has a huge call to make - sell him and rebuild the squad, but lose the man who may be roughly worth a point a game average all on his own. That said, you don't rebuild a squad in January - you tinker with it, so Jordan must stay.

Defence

Again, Moyes will carry the can for supporters' expectation that he will make the right decision regarding Lamine Kone. Hindsight will always be there to judge him later into the new year of course.

Regardless, Kone will certainly be missing through January into February as he heads off to the Africa Cup Of Nations, meaning Sunderland will have to pick from three senior centre-halves - Papy Djilobodji, John O'Shea and Jason Denayer. A central defender may need to be on the shopping list regardless of Kone's future.

Beyond that, defence is not too bad. Patrick van Aanholt could use some competition to keep him on his toes and Javier Manquillo is lurking in the background to have a final shot at proving himself as a Premier League player. Following his limp Liverpool career and a poor start to life in a Sunderland shirt, Manquillo won't get another chance in England if this is where his showings end.

Midfield

Yann M'Vila has probably gone. Let that be the end of it. We just hope someone at Sunderland can sleep at night for letting the finest midfielder we have had in some time go - especially when he was begging to sign-up.

It's the midfield which has become the wasteland of injuries. None of Paddy McNair, Lyndon Gooch, Duncan Watmore or, dare we say it - Lee Cattermole - are world beaters. But to lose another tranche of middle-men, following a season without Jan Kirchhoff and Sebastian Larsson as well, is a stinking blow.

David Moyes will certainly need to sign a central midfielder. It really is too risky to leave the current lot to engine our way to safety.

What we absolutely must get hold of is a man who can link defence with attack in the middle. That role is not natural to anyone we currently have in the midfield ranks. Didier Ndong is not that, Steven Pienaar is too leggy to carry it out nowadays, Sebastian Larsson is perhaps the closest there is - but for all his Swedish merits - Larsson is no saviour. It's not a Number 10 we need - we don't play with those, and they're darn expensive. It's just a player who can pick a pass from the back and carry the ball forwards. It's what Jack Rodwell was supposed to be and what Yann M'Vila always will be.

Up Front

David Moyes takes the plaudits for chancing his arm on Victor Anichebe, but it could just as easily have gone horribly wrong. But, credit the Nigerian for enhancing his physique in the summer to become tank-esque and add an extra dimension to his game.

Sunderland must sign Jermain Defoe a fellow goalscorer. The City Council should really erect a banner across the Wearmouth Bridge with the phrase "Sunderland will be relegated if Defoe gets injured" such is the necessity to ram the point home to the powers-that-be at the nearby Stadium of Light. If we had a pound for the number of times a pundit has said it, we'd be able to buy a striker ourselves.

Stoke City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images

It doesn't need to be someone expensive. You don't pay ten million quid for someone to sit on the bench for the next year or two. But a young, hungry striker sold on the prospect of learning from Jermain Defoe - the master - is a must.

Simple as that - David needs to buy a spine - and not because he's a lily-livered custard tart. A centre-back, a central midfielder and a striker. That's the priorities.


What do you think - where do you think we'll strengthen? Leave us a comment below.