I am transient. We all have a ‘football-mood’, a barometer which reflects the current context of our football club. Some of you will be looking to the new season with relish, confident that even if we sign no reinforcements, we’ll give Manchester City a good game and take three points off Middlesbrough.
The rest of you will be angst-ridden at the prospect of a Defoe-less Sunderland taking the field at the Etihad; with Bilbo Jones and Samwise Larsson turning out down the right-hand flank, all hobbit-ey; likeable enough and content with their lot, but not really the master magician needed for such an adventure.
Me, I’m transient. Last Sunday I was optimistic, relishing the prospect of the ‘Moyesolution’ picking up Sam Allardyce’s blue print and retaining the same back room staff and ethos. Moyes would merely rubber stamp a few inspired signings, because his ingenious footballing brain could readily calculate what was needed and – Kaboom! I’m starting to suspect Sam Allardyce left us with absolutely no preparation in this area by the way. None that would be useful to Moyes anyway.
But, as the week has progressed I’ve started feeling that nagging doubt creeping back. I made the mistake of clicking on an HiTC.com article on Tuesday which set me into a fit of panic. As a website HiTC don’t generally offer much in the way of opinion or comment. But this one (don’t click on it – it will only encourage them) said of any offer for Lamine Kone that "Sunderland are likely to accept, given that they have one of the Premier League’s smallest budgets this season".
Now, I can accept having a small one, I did a long time ago. I just don’t appreciate people who don’t know what they’re talking about having a laugh at it. Anyway, as the January window proved, it’s what you do with it that counts right? But also by the way, I know that post-Christmas pick-me-up was an impressive one; but it was a one-off let’s face it, at least in the past five years or more, so we should probably just stop boasting about it now OK.
For a club of Sunderland’s present standing, a model which involves selling-on profitable assets is going to be an irreversible truth. The fact that no one has really wanted to buy any of our ‘better’ players in recent years is not exactly a crumb of comfort. They weren’t wanted for a reason. But, selling those few assets now, a few weeks after another relegation battle, would be a hari-kari display of crass stupidity.
With two weeks till the season starts, now is the end game in the transfer window. This summer was always going to pan out in four distinct stages. First, the quick wins – the organised clubs who had scouted extensively throughout the spring and identified a few key, early targets. Then a lull whilst Europe watched its national sides bore each other into submission. Then that would be followed up with a spell of sparring; clubs glaring at each other across a table and throwing their hands up in horror with "how much? We’re not paying that!"
The final stage is now upon us. Money is moving and players are being picked off. Admittedly, the top six have yet to conclude their business and the second tier of clubs are a little unpredictable this year. In that group I mean the likes of Leicester, Everton and West Ham; all buoyed by new money from somewhere, who still have it to spend.
All I can see is Sunderland dithering again. There may well be several obvious factors; of course there are, and there will be more you can present to me. Genuine factors, indeed forces we can’t control.
But, it’s like we must only have one staff member who can ‘do’ transfers, so we can only deal with one thing at a time. This weekend, she/he is in London wining and dining the great and the good of Benfica, talking about Salvio. Then she/he will have to catch the slow mail coach back to Sunderland, which only leaves once a week, on a Tuesday morning. Then we might think about what to do next, and start again; and refresh and repeat until the end of August is upon us and it’s a desperate scramble that will only be capable of remedy in January - once again.
I predict – one signing, and it won’t be a striker, plus N’Zogbia this week. And, truth is - there’ll be nothing bold or decisive about any of it; but hey, truth is such a transient thing.