After weeks of speculation and mystery, last night saw Sunderland’s summer transfer business concluded with a trio of new signings. Marc Wilson and Callum MacManaman joined on permanent deals from Bournemouth and West Brom respectively while Jonny Williams joined on a season-long loan from Crystal Palace - much to the equal part measures of delight and relief for many Sunderland fans.
The new additions will be welcomed with open arms into a squad which has lacked depth and creativity in recent games, and the fact that Bain and Grayson were able to attract talent from Premier League sides bodes well for the club moving forward.
Furthermore, none of the deals involved a transfer fee, and the shrewd nature of the deals deserves to be applauded. Should the new signings perform well for the club, many fans will laud the astuteness of Bain and Grayson’s transfer dealings - which have amounted to less than £2 million in total transfer fees this summer.
That being said, some fans will remain sceptical of the club’s transfer approach this window, and their concerns should rightly be heard.
An outlay of less than £2 million certainly tells its own tale of financial constraints, and many will argue that the club’s hierarchy have certainly been rather frugal in supporting Grayson’s rebuild. No new strikers will also be a hot topic, and certainly asks questions of Martin Bain’s transfer acumen - especially when you consider how much a failure to attract striking options has hurt us in the past.
Then again, the signings of MacManaman and Williams adds new attacking dimensions to the side, and with young Ducan Watmore a couple of weeks away from full fitness perhaps he could potentially be utilised as the nippy poacher we’ve yearned for since Defoe packed his bags?
Despite the fact our new trio aren’t the most glamorous of signings, they will certainly create competition for places and increase our overall strength in depth, and that is something we’ve sorely needed so far this season.
And while the new additions to the side are certainly much welcomed, yesterday’s outgoings and retentions were equally as important to the club.
Gone are Papy Djilibodji and Wahbi Khazri as they journeyed to France in search of pastures new. Few will mourn their exit while many will be pleased to see the club getting rid of players deemed surplus to requirements or in need of an attitude implant. Let’s face it - Djilibodji just wasn’t good enough, and Khazri couldn’t wait to see the back of this club. Good riddance.
And while the departures of those aforementioned players won’t be too distressing, god only know what would have happened if Kone or Ndong had been flogged in the pursuit of cash.
Thankfully both Kone and Ndong have opted to stay on Wearside until January at least, and they could prove to be key players going forward into the season. They have been arguably our best two players thus far this campaign, and if truth be told keeping Kone and Ndong might be just as valuable as securing the new trio.
In all, yesterday certainly allayed many fears of an abysmal summer of business. Faces were brought in to strengthen the side, players left that weren’t really adding anything to the squad, and key players were kept on the books.
That being said there is still a niggling thought in the back of the mind that suggests we really needed to bring in another forward in the search for goals. Maybe Watmore or Maja are the answer, or perhaps Grayson has just the freebie in mind, but failing to sign a forward has been our Achilles heel for some time now, and it feels like perhaps we haven’t learned from our recent mistakes.
Either way the window is closed, and the new Lads will be welcomed to the club with open arms and the opportunity to become fan favourites should they give their all and show us their talent.
Just a week to wait until we see the Lads back in action. Ha’way!