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SAFC Transfers: What Have We Got & What Do We Need?

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With around two weeks left until the transfer window closes Sunderland still have a ridiculous amount of business to conduct. Will we do it?

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In terms of bodies, Sunderland have seen far more players leave the club since the end of last season than we have seen come through the door in the form of new arrivals.

Though the promotion of players like Max Stryjek, Lynden Gooch and Joel Asoro as back-up players is to be expected, we have still got a very thin squad to play around with as I type this, and David Moyes' task over the coming fortnight is to strengthen that side significantly whilst attempting to retain the services of a number of his most important players.

What Have We Got?

As you can see from my highly technical table below, we are woefully short in terms of current playing staff.

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David Moyes doesn't just have a thin squad to play around with, though - he's got a number of other problems plaguing him too that are making his job much harder and complex.

Highlighted in blue are players that are currently suffering from injuries.

Though Billy Jones and Jan Kirchhoff aren't experiencing long term issues, they are still a concern, particularly as they are considered fairly important yet were nagged by injuries throughout pre-season. Seb Larsson and Lee Cattermole are expected to be out a very long time - in Larsson's case, pretty much for the whole season - and as a result we have to plan for life without them.

What Do We Need?

Highlighted in yellow are the spaces where I feel Sunderland are lacking and as an immediate priority we need to sort those before the window closes.

Full Back

Patrick Van Aanholt's poor performance on Saturday in Manchester highlighted Sunderland's need for another quality full back. Though many would love to see Thomas Robson succeed at Sunderland, his lack of experience and youth means he doesn't quite hit the needs that we have immediately, with Robson perhaps needing a spell away on loan at a decent standard in order to raise his game somewhat. Similarly, we are short on the right hand side of the defence and even with Billy Jones and Donald Love both fit it doesn't particularly inspire me.

Signing a left full back that can also play on the right would be what we need, and those don't come ten-a-penny. It's a shame that the Davide Santon deal fell apart because, in that sense, he would have been perfect.

Central Defence

Though Lamine Kone and Younes Kaboul are one of the best pairings in the top flight, it seems increasingly likely that one of them might not still be here come the end of the transfer window. If that scenario does play out then Sunderland will be under huge pressure to sign a top quality defender that can replace the gaping void that either man would leave.

That said, if both do stay then Sunderland are still short of a central defender, with only Papy Djilobodji and John O'Shea adequate back up in that position.

It's probably not our priority, but providing we sort out of top targets in plenty time then I'd like to hope we'll be looking at other defensive options. Kaboul and O'Shea have questionable injury records and we cannot really rely on either to stay fit over an entire season.

Central Midfield

Behind the injured trio of Kirchhoff, Cattermole and Larsson is... Jack Rodwell. He's steady enough as a back up player but if we are going into September with the ex-Evertonian as first choice then we have cause for concern. Clearly, this is our priority, with the case for signing a midfielder heightened somewhat by the fact that we have so many injury prone players in that position.

Paddy McNair is largely untested in the Premier League but early indications are that he'll be a midfielder at Sunderland, though I suspect he'll be more of a utility player that fills in where he's needed.

Beyond that... we're struggling, to the point where we had John O'Shea playing in front of our defence last weekend to make up the numbers.

We need at least two, and we needed them weeks ago. It's baffling that we are going into the second game of the season relatively unequipped in such an important position.

Out Wide?

Though I haven't highlighted it on the table, it could be argued that we are lacking out wide.

David Moyes seems keen to give youth a chance and the two main recipients of his faith will likely be Duncan Watmore and Lynden Gooch, who both started the game at the Etihad last weekend. That said, it's entirely possible that we could see Jeremain Lens leave in this window and that would see Sunderland short again.

Are Fabio Borini and Duncan Watmore being played out of position out wide? Probably. I still expect that is where we'll see both deployed the most often, though.

Up Front

Signing a striker is arguably as important as any other piece of business we do - Jermain Defoe is 34 in October and he is our only decent senior forward. Imagine if he gets injured?

Whoever we get cannot be just good back up, either. They'll probably have to play just as much as Defoe does and that means we can't afford to have another Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham or Dame N'Doye. Whoever it is has to be top quality, or we'll be banking on Defoe getting us the same kind of return which he got last season. That would be unacceptable.

Conclusion

Sunderland need alot of players. It isn't information that I am privy to but I'd suspect our budget won't stretch to signing five or six players on a permanent basis so I'm gearing myself up for a mix of loanees and bargains in the coming weeks.

As I alluded to earlier, we have to sort out our midfield as a priority. Unexpected injuries have escalated our need to make signings in that position and clearly signing Yann M'Vila is not going to be easy, so we have to be looking elsewhere at players that will be ready to step straight in.

Similarly, we are desperate for quality up front and with David Moyes seen at the Brentford v Nottingham Forest game last night it does make me suspect that he's possibly in the market for someone like Britt Assombalonga, but that's purely speculation on my part. He's certainly someone that would give us something different to what Defoe offers yet knows where the net is - we're missing a bigger, more physical option and no doubt that is the type of forward that we are targeting.

Time is running out. For a number of weeks now I've felt that we'd be hedging our bets and doing the majority of our business towards the end of the transfer window and that certainly appears to be the case.

It's not quite time to panic just yet, but clearly our squad is paper thin and the sooner we add to that, the better - if not for the club's sake then for my own sanity.