Sunderland's financial situation is a secret to nobody.
Riddled with debts and a bloated wage bill, whoever fills the shoes of the now-departed David Moyes has a serious challenge ahead this summer. Re-shaping our fractured squad is not impossible, but it's an unenviable task.
When it was announced this morning that George Honeyman had signed a new two year deal with the club, without a manager in place to sanction it, it perhaps gave us some indication of what sort of business Sunderland will be doing in the transfer market this summer.
A brief statement regarding Honeyman's contract on SAFC.com said:
Sunderland midfielder George Honeyman has put pen to paper on a new two-year contract.
Honeyman has progressed through the club’s youth ranks, initially joining the Academy at just 10 years old.
The 22-year old is now set to remain at the Stadium of Light until the 2018-19 season.
Bidding to follow in the footsteps of Jordan Pickford and Duncan Watmore, Honeyman earned many plaudits last season for his tireless efforts in the middle of the park.
When considering the sheer amount of changes that are set to take place within our ranks this summer, giving a short-term deal to an unproven young player that is on the fringes of the first team makes sense.
Honeyman probably isn't in the same bracket as Duncan Watmore or Jordan Pickford when it comes to their potential, but he's a squad player that can play a number of roles across the attack and midfield. And when you remember that we will most likely be playing two games in most weeks next season, you have to ensure that your squad is equipped to deal with the frantic nature of the Championship schedule.
Admittedly his lack of first-team experience is concerning - in an ideal world he'd have been given much more experience of playing out on loan before now - but in the games he's taken part in this season he certainly hasn't done himself any harm. I was down at Burnley for the FA Cup replay earlier this year and in what was an absolutely horrific evening, Honeyman was the shining light. His pressing and work-rate is impressive, whilst his attitude of always wanting the ball is endearing. Having witnessed the likes of Jack Rodwell consistently shirk responsibility it's nice to see Honeyman come into the first team showing his eagerness to impress.
Giving Honeyman a new deal gives us some indication that there is a process or plan being implemented here. It's no secret that the players produced by our academy have been underused since it was built, and whoever the new manager is has to be willing to include more players like Honeyman as part of their first team going forward.
The fact of the matter is that we spend far too much on players that have little to no resale value, and if we are to become more self-sufficient we need to start producing more players that can impress on the first-team stage.