We’ve spoken a lot recently about what sort of changes need to be made in January, and Stewart Donald confirmed during his radio appearance that should it be deemed necessary that we’ll spend in the upcoming transfer window. Plans are obviously in place in advance of that process, and it’d be fair to assume that the recruitment team will be looking at which positions they feel the majority of those resources need to be spent. It’s also fair to assume that in some positions we’ll look to strengthen by utilising the loan market, rather than spending x amount of money on a new player.
Taking all of this into account, which position do you feel we should look to spend the majority of our January budget on in order to strengthen, and why?
I’m actually torn on this, because in my mind we need to make four signings.
Up front I have a feeling we’ll be looking at a big, mobile forward because those are the types that Phil Parkinson likes, and with Gary Madine surplus to requirements at Cardiff City we’d be daft to not sling a cheeky loan bid in for him when you consider how successful he was under our current boss when the two were together at Bolton.
We need pace on the wing, a mobile and forward-thinking right back, and a central midfielder - though I suspect that the potential departure of Dylan McGeouch will be countered by the return of Ethan Robson, who has enjoyed success out on loan at Grimsby and has all the physical attributes we need from an incoming player.
So, it comes down to two spots. Right back, and a winger. I actually think that we’ll find it easier to find a winger, because there are so many attacking players out there looking for fresh starts and loan moves. Top clubs will be more open to letting their young prospects go out on loan, and I’d be scouring the U23s squads of the Premier League big boys for a hot young prospect waiting to be given their chance to shine.
Right back has been a real problem position at Sunderland for years, and I’d like to see us go out and sign someone who wouldn’t just improve us now, but can grow with us and be our right back in the eventuality that we get ourselves promoted.
Spending the majority of our money finding a proper replacement for Adam Matthews is key. Luke O’Nien needs to be given a proper chance to flourish in his natural position, so spending money to find a more than adequate replacement is important - to me, at least.
Paul Fletcher says...
When you look down our squad list you could be forgiven for thinking that we have every base covered – strikers who are proven at League One level, plenty of quality midfielders, solid defenders and two very good goalkeepers.
However, the Tranmere game aside, we have looked very ordinary and seriously lacking in every area of the pitch. The problems we have are blatant and there for everyone to see. The solutions, on the other hand, are not so easy to put your finger on.
We’re leaking silly goals and I don’t think any signing in particular would stop this. I think we have to accept that in League One people make goalkeeping / defensive howlers, referees make poor decisions and there are players who seem bang average but have a wonderstrike in their locker. So rather than focusing on improving the defence and trying to win every game 1-0, I’d be focusing on improving the attack and trying to score 2+ goals.
It’s plain to see are seriously lacking pace and purpose in the opposition half, especially with ongoing question marks over the fitness of Gooch, Watmore and McNulty. Lewis Morgan filled this void quite well in the latter half of last season but, realistically, will we be able to get a player of his quality in on loan? Stating that ‘we need pace’ is easy but naming feasible options to sign is very difficult.
To this end, I made this checklist of what we are looking for in a new attacker:
- Tall, powerful and fast as lightning.
- A proven winner with huge amounts of self-belief.
- Someone with hunger to succeed and a point to prove.
- Someone who is currently available.
The only person I could think of who ticked all of these boxes was Usain Bolt…
Graham Falk says...
Dear God, where do I start?
The right-back position is currently filled by our best midfielder, or a Northern Irish bloke trying his best to make it look like Billy Jones’ time on Wearside was actually successful. Up front, we have three strikers who look like they may get 10 goals a season - between them that is.
And finally, in midfield, we currently possess our club captain, vice-captain and former captain of Walsall, so we should be fine, right? No, of course not, this is Sunderland we still somehow require some leadership, pace and tenacity in the middle.
But where should we spend the bulk of our January transfer window? Which of these three positions deserve the most attention? In my opinion, it has to be the midfield, surely.
Phil Parkinson’s squad are desperate for pace, power (not Max) and energy in the centre of the park. Someone who can win the ball, drive forward and split the lines. Someone good.
Much like Paul above, I’ve done a little checklist and based on that list, I’ll see who’s available...
- Someone with explosive pace and power.
- Someone who can break the opposition lines and thread a pass through to the strikers and maybe even nab a goal himself.
- Someone who is perhaps playing at a level above ourselves, but not playing as often as he would like, so could be tempted to at least come here on loan, at least.
- Someone who has experience of big expectations that won’t falter under pressure.
The first name that came to mind was Preston North End midfielder Tom Bayliss. Signed from Coventry City for a record fee in the summer, Bayliss has only featured three times in the Championship is will be desperate for game time to prove he is worthy of a shot in Alex Neil’s midfield.
Highly rated at Coventry, he excelled during a difficult time for the Sky Blues and helped them back to League One with some hugely mature performances when he was just a teenager.
He’s tall at 6ft, young and hungry, can really pick a pass and is capable of bursting into the opposition area with explosive energy. If he could come in on loan to the Stadium of Light and prove himself, the move could work for both clubs. He’d also be able to settle in easily alongside former team-mates Lee Burge and Jordan Willis. Think a League One Jordan Henderson, and you’ll get the picture.
Go get him Parky.