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Roker Ramble: The Transfer Jungle

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How are Sunderland expected to make the most of our transfer resources when Championship clubs are spending up to eight figures on players that have spent their whole careers outside of the top flight?

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When I read this morning that Aston Villa had seen their bid of fifteen million quid for Ross McCormack accepted I took a moment and shook my head.

Here's a player that, at the age of 29, has never had a run in the top flight of English football, yet somehow there are teams clamoring to sign him for eight figure sums. I don't get it.

He's a proven Championship goalscorer, yes, but when teams in the league below us are spending money like that on players who have never been proven in the top division it's almost enough to make you question your own sanity. Sunderland's record transfer fee paid for a player is actually less than what Villa are set to spend on McCormack. Staggering, isn't it?

Here we are, clearly trying to bring in players with a limited budget, and there are sides in the Championship spending huge fees on players that wouldn't get a sniff in the Premier League.

It actually makes me sympathise with the job that David Moyes and Martin Bain have on their hands this summer. Selling clubs will use deals like the McCormack one as an example of why their player is worth more than Sunderland are willing to pay, and as a result we're probably going to end up overspending in some cases.

Like, take what we reportedly offered for Diafra Sakho when Sam Allardyce was here, for example. Here's a forward that, despite never really pulling up any trees, has scored goals in the top flight - and we (and even perhaps West Ham) valued him lower than what Fulham value McCormack at. Clubs in the Championship are willing to pay through the nose in order to sign average players that might get them out of that league, and the likes of ourselves who clearly haven't got huge resources to spend in the transfer market will be the ones to suffer when we attempt to secure our own targets.

I'm not excusing the club here mind - I think that whatever the case may be, we should have had some players in by now. The Allardyce issue clearly hampered us, but we're just over a week from the season starting and just have an injury-hit squad of players carried over from last season to select from. That said, it must be an absolute nightmare trying to find value in the current transfer window.

We've already seen record levels of spending by Premier League clubs this summer and there is still about a month left to go - proof enough that we're going to have to give in to the ridiculous demands of some clubs if we want to secure top targets early.

David Moyes has spoken of replicating the same kind of success that he had in the early days at Everton, but I don't think it's quite as easy as that in 2016. Moyes found value in the lower leagues at Goodison Park, and plucked talented players from smaller clubs before making them stars in the Premier League, but it seems that with each passing day that it's becoming harder and harder to do that now. If the going rate for the best players in the Championship is reaching as high as fifteen million quid, you can see just why Sam Allardyce chose to buy from places like France in the January window.

Do we bite the bullet and pay what clubs are demanding for their players, or do we wait it out and hope that we can get them slightly cheaper towards the end of the window? My honest answer is that I have absolutely no idea.

I wouldn't want to be the one making those decisions.