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Roker Roundtable: Does Sunderland’s lack of transfer activity so far this summer concern you?

Should we be concerned by Sunderland’s lack of transfer activity so far this summer? Our panel of Roker Report writers give their verdicts. What do you think? Let us know.

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Q: Are you worried about Sunderland’s lack of transfer activity so far this summer?

Damian Brown says...

It’s hard not to be. I’d describe myself as feeling more of an anxious expectation of the same old story than a genuine worry, because I can’t believe they would allow themselves to enter this state of flux unprepared.

We’ve been in this limbo many times before. So many in fact that I feel it simply wouldn’t be a transfer window without Sunderland AFC dragging their heels, which is precisely what this feels like.

That said I suppose it all depends upon the manner of their business when it eventually does get done. I have just enough faith necessary in the recruitment team (of whom I really know very little about when all is said and done) to presume they aren’t closing their eyes and throwing darts at a big black board with a list of free agent’s names on it.

It’s safe to assume that the proposed takeover has a massive impact on transfer business, because why bring in new investment with no time to invest? Surely it’s more than feasible that the priority focus is going to be digging around in the league’s around us, looking to snatch up a bargain, while we wait for someone that wants to put some serious money down to walk through the door.

The owners have stated previously that they don’t need to sell to buy, and with that comes the implication that either they don’t need to buy (which they do) or that the funds are in place to make those purchases. We can’t rely on yet another patch-up for the upcoming game - we need a team assembled for the task ahead. My chief concern then is that with all that’s going on behind the scenes at Sunderland - with all the red tape and the slow turning wheels of bureaucracy - the recruitment team won’t operate at it’s optimum potential, having no guarantees of X amount of cash to spend.

It would be naive not to expect free agents through the door, but we can’t make the mistake of shoehorning players in. It’s not about making any kind of statement - Sunderland need players of value in order to succeed.

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off: Second Leg Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Jack Ford says...

Quite frankly, I’m extremely worried.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that a well-structured, intelligent, and proactively pursued recruitment plan is perhaps the most important thing in football.

By my reckoning, we haven’t had an undisturbed summer transfer window since 2015, before Gus Poyet started his final season in charge. Once again, it looks like we’ll be self-imposing three maddening weeks of playing catch up on deals.

I’m not entirely convinced the new investment will drastically change the resources at our disposal, and if we’re chasing free agents then the more we delay the more risky it is for them personally to wait for us, and the more likely they’ll sign elsewhere.

Already I’m seeing teams like Peterborough sign almost a new XI of talented players on the up and I’m wondering, how on Earth can we not compete with them?

Both in terms of brains and financial brawn we should be blowing our competitors in the league out the water in the transfer market, but I’m genuinely concerned about previous links to players like Stewart Downing. Have we not learned that old players on big wages with limited physicality is the complete opposite of what we need?

Quite frankly, our team wasn’t good enough last season, and we don’t have a manager tactically shrewd enough to make a poor team world-beaters. We need to do our utmost to sign at least 5 or 6 first team players and so far all we’ve done is weaken the side.

Hopefully it’s just natural Sunderland pessimism, but until I see evidence to the contrary, I’m remaining worried that we’ve already surrendered vital ground to our promotion rivals, and failed to learn from the mistakes of the last season.

Portsmouth v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Play-Off: Second Leg Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Mark Carrick says...

I’m quite relaxed about it, if I’m honest. I hear what people say, but Peterborough aside, is anyone else making waves in our league? Peterborough failed to make the Play-Offs and need far more surgery than ourselves, so let’s not focus too much on one team.

I think we have the core of a decent side still. The team only lost a handful of games next season and the aim must be to add quality to key areas and turn previous draws into wins this time around.

A couple of strong, commanding defenders, a true no10 and creativity in midfield and we’re almost there. I hear the talk of a couple of strikers being linked, but get the creative element right and both Wyke and Grigg will blow this league away. Previous experience would still suggest they are two top strikers in this league.

If the recruitment team coming in have their targets and it’s a case of rubber stamping deals then I’m sure we’ll get the balance right.

If the players coming in allow Jack Ross to stamp his style and authority on the side then I think we’ll see a manager who has learned from the make-do approach last season too.

Gillingham v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Naomi Baker/Getty Images

Tom Atkinson says...

I must admit that I am a little worried; however, should the new ownership’s recruitment team come in ready to go, then I will happily eat my words.

The problem is that an immediate response to last season’s disappointment would have alleviated many people’s fears and concerns. At the moment, people are stewing on that sense of trepidation, and it will only get worse until they see players brought in to address obvious concerns - specifically an imposing central defender, an attack-minded full back or two, a creative force in the final third, a pacey winger, and maybe another forward.

Ultimately, though, whoever comes into the club, it will be up to Jack Ross to get these new signings firing on all cylinders immediately in order to get his detractors back on side.

I’ve noted before that a great manager, whatever the profession, analyses past mistakes and comes up with a plan for continuous improvement. Ross is an intelligent operator and with the right signings will hopefully cast off the pragmatic approach he adopted as his faith in his defence faltered.

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