After a thoroughly impressive win away to Norwich yesterday, Simon Grayson has expressed his determination at keeping key players on the club’s books this summer:
I’m aware that, like any other manager, I could still lose players and that is part and parcel of the window being open. But winning helps you keep players and we will see where it goes.
I’m sure there will be inquiries about our players, but I’m sure there will be other players wanting to come to our club.
One would imagine that the impressive performances of Lamine Kone, Lee Cattermole and Dider Ndong haven’t gone unnoticed in recent weeks, and several clubs both in England and overseas will be pondering whether or not to make a bid before the window closes.
Wahbi Khazri as well as Lamine Kone are the chief two names regularly linked with moves away from the club; however, after Kone’s performances in his last two league games Grayson could be tempted to hold onto the Ivorian defender who has impressed thus far this season.
Then again, much like last season, there is a risk that Kone will throw his toys out of the pram if he isn’t given the transfer and bumper wage he so desperately desires. It’s a tricky situation for Grayson to navigate - does he sell and reinvest, or hold onto players who undoubtedly have the talent to do well for the club, albeit with a dubious temperament?
Grayson did comment further on the club’s general situation noting that:
We’ve had a lot of problems that have happened at this football club, but we’ve said from day one that all those things have happened in the past.
It’s about what we do going forward now. We’ve suffered challenges, but there’s a group together and that’s the big thing about it.
Those words could potentially be viewed as an olive branch for players who might have previously thrown all their eggs into once basket regarding their Sunderland futures, and should Kone and his fellow wantaways decide to stay and fight for their places then fans will view Grayson’s words and actions as brilliant displays of diplomacy.
That being said, should Kone depart for pastures new it would appear the club already have a potential replacement earmarked - and for a much cheaper price than the money generated from his sale.
Lincoln City’s 6’5” giant of a defender, Sean Raggett - who scored the FA Cup winner against Burnly last February - has been tipped by various sources to be a target for Grayson after being valued at around £350,000 by his club.
The 23 year-old centre-back only signed for Lincoln last season after spending 6 years at National League side, Dover Athletic, but managed to bag 7 goals in 47 appearances as The Imps sealed promotion to League Two last year.
Lincoln manager Danny Cowley seems to have suggested in recent days that Raggett could potentially leave Lincolnshire, noting that Raggett has done well to train and perform so well in the face of so much interest:
I will always try to advise my players as well as I can. Sean has conducted himself superbly throughout this period. His attitude towards his training has been exemplary. He’s remained really focused. He’s been able to make his own decisions, which is not easy for a young player to do, particularly when you’ve got lots of people in your ear giving different opinions.
He knows as a person he’s going to be judged by his actions. He’s been able to stay grounded and stayed true to himself. That’s what’s really important for Sean. I’m really proud of him as a person and as a footballer.
It’s funny in a way that at the beginning of the summer names like Raggett would have been greeted with an exasperated sigh by many fans. However, in the wake of two wins and three impressive footballing performances - thanks to some of Grayson’s less fashionable summer signings - fans would certainly welcome the young Englishman with open arms and great expectations.
So will it be Kone out and Raggett in? Only time will tell... or a drunken Darron Gibson.