Q: Sunderland have done most of their summer business already. What other positions do you still think need to be strengthened, and why?
In which position do you think that #SAFC need to strengthen next?— Roker Report (@RokerReport) July 26, 2019
James Nickels says...
The direction we need to go now entirely depends upon who leaves. Oviedo, Loovens and Watmore (all big earners) have been linked to being shifted on or having their contracts paid off like Cattermole and Don Love.
If any of these three leave, we need to replace them like-for-like. An experienced CB, pacey attacker and left wing back would be necessary.
Oviedo’s move to Club Brugge looks somewhat imminent, so a wing back option is paramount. Denver Hume is a good player and will have a good future - but he’s been thus far unable to consistently feature for the Lads, with runs in the team stunted by numerous injury niggles.
If Watmore were to go, one good option could be Bright Enobakhare on loan from Wolves. He managed six goals and three assists in 18 games on loan at Coventry next season, and can ably play as a striker, attacking midfielder and winger. Nuno Espirito Santo just yesterday announced they are looking to loan him out again this season. Although they may favour a Championship move, he’d be a shrewd addition for any side looking for promotion out of League One this season.
Phil West says...
I’m confident that we’ve now got enough firepower up front, enough strength in midfield, and more solidity at the back. Areas of weakness have been identified, and the recruitment thus far appears to have been geared towards fixing those weaknesses. It’s been very much quality over quantity, which suits me perfectly.
In terms of further signings, a pacy winger who can dribble at pace, take on and beat defenders and drop the ball onto a sixpence for our strikers would be my number one transfer priority. Our play could certainly benefit from being speeded up a couple of clicks next season, and someone with pace to burn would help that hugely.
Also, by way of creativity, a new ‘number ten’ would be a dream. Someone who can pick the lock, play the killer pass, and make things happen when it looks like the options are limited. I still believe that McGeough could fulfill this role, but perhaps another injection of genuine quality would be useful.
Defensively, it’s fullbacks all the way. If Oviedo leaves, there’s a large gap to be filled, and someone with a good engine, physical strength, and defensive discipline and awareness will most certainly be needed to take his place.
Tom Atkinson says...
I suppose it partly depends on whether Jon McLaughin is sold. If so, we would definitely need another experienced keeper to add to our ranks - although I’m not sure who would be a good shout in terms of ability and resale value.
Defensively, we perhaps need another player capable of playing on either flank in a wing-back position. That being said, I feel both Lynden Gooch and George Honeyman could do well in those roles. However, when Oviedo goes we will need another defensive- minded wide player.
Central midfield is now well stocked, but I do think a creative number 10 could be a huge bonus. Marcus Maddison is the obvious candidate, but we could well have another target in mind. Kimpioka and Watmore will likely be relied upon to provide pace in the attacking third (especially Watmore and his inflated wage), and in Grigg, McNulty and Wyke we have three forwards more than capable of producing the goods at this level.
I think we have a squad capable of battling for promotion, personally. On paper we blow every other competitor out of the water, especially when you consider our wage bill. The proof, however, will be in the pudding. Here’s hoping Jack Ross gets his men winning immediately.
Chris Wynn says...
I think we’re in a position now where players need to leave before thinking about strengthening the squad any further.
We’ve replaced Ruiter with Burge to keep McLaughlin honest in the sticks.
Willis looks on paper and from pre-season a nice addition at the back.
That gives us five centre-backs with the option of playing another new signing Conor McLaughlin in a three if needed.
McLaughlin’s first role will likely be as wing-back as Ross looks to be heading towards setting up with three at the back this year.
If we do strengthen again it may likely be in these wide areas. Currently, McLaughlin is joined by Oviedo, Hume and Gooch, and possibly O’Nien.
I’d be surprised if Oviedo is still with the club at the end of the window. If this is the case a left sided player who can get up and down the line may be on Ross’ shortlist.
We look heavy in numbers in midfield again this season due to the combination of new signings and young players like Embleton and Robson pushing more for a first team place this year.
The same now possibly can be said in the forward positions where we look to have good strength in depth in the ‘number 10’ role as well as up top.
Looking through the squad I’d expect any signal of another signing coming in would be a player leaving the club.
Until that happens I think we’re set for another run at League One.