When I looked ahead to the start of the new season back in May, the least I expected was that we'd see Sunderland going into that first game with our starting eleven sorted. I was hoping for Yann M'Vila and a right back - maybe even a squad player or two. Nothing too much.
As I type this, however, it's the Tuesday before the first game and thus far our incoming summer transfer business has amounted to signing a backup defender and taking two players well past their prime on trial.
I think you'll forgive me for not being overly enthused.
Sunderland have been given an easy ride this summer with regards to our lack of transfer progress. Even at the start of July with Sam Allardyce in charge he expressed frustration at not having any players in place. Admittedly, the FA's poaching of our manager deeply affected our planning and recruitment, but does that excuse still wash with just days left until we play the first game of the season?
I mean, the Yann M'Vila situation has been a complete farce in my eyes. Here is a player who is universally loved by the Sunderland fans after a successful loan spell, whose parent club have made it clear that they don't want him, who is out of contract in the winter and has publicly expressed that he wants to come here. Yet, despite the season ending in May, we're almost midway through August sat wondering whether or not he's going to join the club or not.
M'Vila should have been signed in time to take part in pre-season, yet he's spent the last five weeks waiting for something to happen. It's unacceptable.
We all knew even towards the end of last season that we needed a right back, and many would have been happy to see DeAndre Yedlin return to the club. The move for Davide Santon at the start of July broke down almost instantly (perhaps through no fault of our own as his medicals at other clubs have shown he's somewhat fragile) and since then we haven't signed anyone to play there, with Jack Rodwell and Billy Jones the two most likely candidates to start in that position on Saturday. God help us.
Sam Allardyce, Martin Bain and David Moyes have all told us this summer that we want to start our season better than we have done in previous years. Though that seems a sensible enough target to set, how can you possibly expect anyone to believe that is the case when we've seen no progress whatsoever in terms of incoming players?
We can only really deal in facts. The Djilobodji deal came out of absolutely nowhere, and is probably evidence that just because we aren't hearing murmurings it doesn't mean things aren't going on. But, as I've said, to be days from a season starting without having the basics covered is staggering.
People are quite rightly frustrated. I've tried to be patient, but I have to admit that I'm struggling now. Our decent results in pre-season have perhaps masked our deficiencies across the board.
And I'm not ignoring the continuing speculation about Lamine Kone leaving the club either. It must be as frustrating for the players as it is for us, turning into training every day wondering whether or not their employers are actually going to sign the players that they need to progress as a team next season. I wouldn't blame any of them for thinking twice about their future when more ambitious clubs come sniffing around them.
I'm not saying that we should have signed a tonne of players by now, but I at least expected us to hit our minimum requirements in time for the campaign starting. The fact we are going into the first game with a starting eleven weaker than the one we ended the season with is worrying.