After what has been a torrid first half to the campaign it’s clear for all to see that the club simply don’t have the money to spend their way out of trouble in the Championship.
In fact, when asked about potential funds this January, Chris Coleman recently noted that:
As it stands we have to look at loans. If we do get a sum of money, I am not sitting here thinking I can go and spend it in this area or that area.
I may get a slice of it, but any money that came in like that would be going elsewhere - although I am sure we will see a little bit of it.
It’s a bleak picture being painted on Wearside as the club continues to stumble like some drunken fool, scoffed at by those watching our fall from grace. However, Coleman’s candid admission that the club simply don’t have a pot to p*ss in needn’t necessarily be a death sentence.
Neale McDermott, who was a talent scout for Adidas before he was hired by the club last year, appears to be the man masterminding Sunderland’s January bargain hunt.
His list will likely be ripe with young, talented prospects who could potentially help the club halt its slide into League One. Of course, as many people have noted, this approach is most certainly a gamble; after all, asking young prospects to suddenly bed into a new club and win games is an incredible ask.
Yet, despite the obvious concerns surrounding this juvenile approach to transfer dealings, there is certainly a sense of optimism to be found in the targets currently being pursued by the club.
Jake Clarke-Salter signed for the club yesterday, and the club are also said to be chasing talented Liverpool duo Ben Woodburn and Ovie Ejaria on loan with other reinforcements likely to arrive in the coming days - all young players from top Premier League sides.
If those aforementioned links are indeed legitimate then you can begin to piece together Coleman’s approach to the window - and it’s a refreshing one.
For too long we have catered to inflated egos who treat this magnificent club with nothing but contempt. They arrived with the promise of true quality, yet produced little worth cheering on the pitch, and have subsequently been the architects of our demise.
Instead of chasing out of favour players and those just over the hill, Coleman instead appears to be keen on acquiring young, hungry players with it all to prove.
They come from winning environments, as shown by the fact that Clarke-Salter has won three FA Youth Cups and consecutive UEFA Youth League titles with Chelsea, whilst both he and Ovie Ejaria recently won the U20 World Cup with England. Furthermore, Ben Woodburn is a full Welsh international with bags of talent, and it’s expected that he will eventually go on to do big things as his playing career progresses.
These are lads eager to succeed with a winning mentality firmly ingrained in their psyche - a quality we seem to have lacked in what feels like forever.
When Jake Clarke-Salter was interviewed by the club’s website after his unveiling, he quickly stated his desire to come to a club where he will find a manager capable of advancing his game:
As soon as he called me I couldn’t wait to come and my mind was pretty much made up.
One of the reasons I’ve come to the club is because the manager is great with young players, so I can’t wait to learn from him.
I feel like I’m now ready for the next step up in my career.
Indeed, Clarke-Salter followed the pattern of all that have gone before him in paying service to the “massive” fanbase, but the fact he wants to come and learn whilst seeing this as a chance to enhance his blossoming career should be something to be celebrated.
Coleman himself admitted that the main draw of this window for the club will be enticing young players to a club where they will get increased opportunities, and if truth be told it’s a much improved strategy when compared to this summer’s disappointing attempts at strengthening the side.
If we can help cultivate the talents of these young players then we might just be able to attract more of them down the line, both for the first-team and the Academy.
It’s now up to these new and incoming acquisitions to stand up and be counted. We’re putting all of our hopes into their ability to help earn us points, so hopefully they’re up for the battle.
I remember the arrival of Jonny Evans and Danny Simpson on similar loan deals back in 2006, and the reservations held by many when they were first announced - perhaps history is beginning to repeat itself?
Ultimately, while Coleman has been forced into this unfortunate situation, our financial woes could in fact be a great opportunity to establish our club as a side capable of developing talent, which in the long term could also theoretically help improve our position.