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OPINION: Does QPR’s Financial Fair Play fine highlight Sunderland’s need to shift big earners?

After reading the news this week that QPR have been handed a hefty £42 million fine for breaching FFP rules, the need to shift Sunderland’s want-away high earners seems more important than ever.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

After reading the news this week that QPR have been handed a hefty £42 million fine for breaching FFP rules, the need to shift Sunderland’s want-away high earners seems more important than ever.

The BBC explained QPR’s fine succinctly on their website:

The settlement includes a £17m fine, paying £3m of the EFL’s legal costs and the agreement from club shareholders to write off £22m of outstanding loans.

QPR will also be under a transfer embargo for the January 2019 window.

It is believed the EFL have agreed to a payment schedule over 10 years.

And this news should serve as a prime warning to fans who have admonished the club’s determination to rid themselves of high-earners as they simultaneously try to find cost-effective replacements.

It’s relatively straightforward, if truth be told: we need to offload our high earners in order to secure our financial future. Of course, we also need several signings in order to ensure this season proves to be a successful one; however, examples like QPR should certainly act as a warning to us all.

Overspending and stretching the budget doesn’t bring guaranteed success.

Sunderland’s transfer business so far has been relatively solid. The club haven’t necessarily pulled up any trees with their dealings, but those brought into the club appear to be capable players capable of following Jack Ross’ instructions. Jon McLaughlin and Dylan McGeouch in particular appear to be very astute signings - and they cost nothing.

Sunderland needn’t spend silly money in order to secure promotion, but looking ahead they must almost certainly do everything they can to shift under-performing players sitting on ridiculously high wages.

Sunderland v Swansea City - Premier League
Another.
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Although Stewart Donald has argued that we can afford to hold onto the club’s high earners should a suitable offer fail to find its way into the recruitment inbox, in reality selling these players would be a massive boost for the club.

First of all, the club would reduce their outgoings by a hefty sum if they were able to sell the players in question. This would help ease the financial burden on us, and would allow money to be diverted to other areas in dire need of investment.

Reducing our outgoings enables the club to operate more efficiently and without darkened clouds looming overhead - something we will need to realise if we are to become self-sustaining.

Furthermore, selling these players both creates funds and frees up a chunk of our wage bill that could well be used in order to strengthen Jack Ross’ side ahead of what will be a gruelling campaign.

Stewart Donald seems to have a firm grip of the situation at hand:

Our income is likely to be somewhere around £17 million as a football club. You can’t have a wage bill that is £27 million. You know it’s got to be 50-55% [of wages to turnover].

We think we’ve got 27 down to about 16 with a couple of deals behind the scenes with the people that are pretty much signed and gone, so we’re well underway to getting that to a sensible level. We then sign players.

Sales fund incoming deals. Donald’s comments about having a large budget in the league may well have been somewhat hasty as they encouraged the notion that new ownership could well return us to our former glories. But supporters need to accept that here and now we are a League One club with a League One budget - albeit a relatively large one.

Hibernian and Birmingham City - Pre-Season Friendly
Looks to be an astute piece of business.
Photo by Steve Welsh/Getty Images

In all, as much as everyone associated with the club wants to see players coming in through the door, those heading in the opposite direction will likely be just as important to Sunderland’s future success.

We all know the names of those seemingly intent on finding a new place to call home, and none of them will be sorely missed. However, their exits will certainly have a large impact on both this season’s performances and beyond - both on and off the pitch.

Interest will intensify as the transfer windows edges toward its final throes, and should Sunderland succeed in selling those intent on leaving for a good price, we may well look back to their exits as the foundation upon which a bright future was built. Patience is vital for Sunderland fans - as is the acceptance that we definitely do need to sell in order to find success.