Tom Atkinson says...
I honestly think it’s impossible to judge Sunderland’s business this window because, ultimately, our finish at the end of the season, coupled with the performances of new signings and prior squad players, will dictate whether Sunderland’s recruitment team have been successful.
The team did address some concerns in the side, however. Bailey Wright brings defensive cover, Declan John brings competition at left wing back where previously there was none, Josh Scowen brings extra legs to the middle, while Antoine Semenyo brings the pace and creativity needed to support Gooch and Maguire.
Sunderland could maybe have done with another forward besides Kyle Lafferty up top as neither Wyke nor Grigg look to be capable of finding the goals we need to make a real push for automatic promotion.
The major concern now is the fact that 14 first team players are set to leave the club this summer. Some might argue that this brings a clean slate, yet it also brings an absolutely mammoth squad overhaul that will take time to settle. Whether we are in the Championship or League One, that much disruption to a side is worrying. As such, perhaps some of the best business we can conduct this season might be giving several players an extension to the lot current deal in order to keep some semblance of familiarity.
Chris Wynn says...
Its all been a bit... erm... ‘meh’, hasn’t it?
When I think the squad and the fans needed a boost to go into the second half of the season, we decide to bulk out the squad.
Don’t get me wrong, bringing Wright in to give us a 5th central defender as we are playing three at the back makes sense, as does John to give Hume some cover.
Scowen will also be another option in the middle, especially after losing McGeouch - Lafferty will give us cover for Wyke, and Semenyo provides some pace as a different option to the target man if Phil Parkinson comes up with a ‘Plan B’, but they’re all a bit ... ‘meh’.
I can see the merits of all the signings but not sure how much they actually improve us. I like signings to be obvious improvements on what we already have and most (if not all) of the players we recruited last month were squad players or another option from the bench.
There isn’t a player we’ve recruited that I’m genuinely excited to pull on the red and white stripes and I suspect most will slot in to do a job similar to the man he’s replacing without much fuss and there’s nothing necessarily wrong with that it just doesn’t get you excited for the run-in.
Although it was deemed we had a plan coming into the window, we took our time and it looks on paper to have built around the theory of increasing our numbers with like for likes, perhaps with the exception of Semenyo.
We need a performance soon as our last four games have been poor, let’s hope our new signings can help Parkinson find the level of form we found just after Christmas.
If we don’t soon, we may have no option but to scramble for a remaining play-off place.
Chris Camm says...
The run of results that we went on through January took a lot of pressure of the transfer window, but Sunderland’s business shows all of the signs of a club up for sale. No commitment has been made here.
On the face of it Parkinson has addressed the areas that needed attention and operated within the club’s transfer policy (which was nowhere near as bold as we were promised it would be by the way). The key areas of the wing/inside forward, up front, centre half, centre mid and left full back (so pretty much everywhere) have been covered, and provided competition and depth that should put us in a better position when it comes to the sharp end of the season.
The trouble I have, though, is that even though we appear to have sorted the right areas with some players who on paper should be more than capable at this level, it all feels very underwhelming. I think when you ask how the window went, I can’t judge it in isolation, and instead finding myself concerned with what the long term plan is.
This transfer window was obviously a temporary solution to get us promoted, but worryingly there’s not one player there who inspires confidence in me that we will get promoted. And then what? Another transfer window of short-sighted answers? Another year spent scrambling to sell the club instead of forming a proper plan to restore us to where we should be?
The onus now falls to the players and coaches to put in the performances they are all capable of, and drag this club up into the Championship. We don’t know yet if these recruits will enable us to do that, but what we do know is that whatever happens this club needs to be sold to somebody with a ready-made plan to progress, because there are only so many times we can try to plug the gaps until we run out of ideas.
Craig Davies says...
We’re in League One and for as long as we’re in this division, I can’t imagine a time where I’m cartwheeling down the road about the razzmatazz of a January transfer window.
However, considering all the metrics involved at our club right now, I’m hopeful that one or two of our January incomings will turn out to be positive contributors. For me that’s all you can expect from lads who are not likely to be much more than squad fillers in an uninspiring league, to help us through a tough winter and cover injuries to key players.
But, someone may just be a surprise package and help us kick on further up the table.
Bailey Wright has a solid reputation and complimentary references from fans at Preston and Bristol City. He’s nothing out of the ordinary but is largely viewed as robustly dependable. Antoine Semenyo comes with pace-filled potential if not a lot of goals in his history. Perhaps being at Sunderland will be the trigger to unleashing some of that potential, as heaven knows our strike force has very little of strike or force! He brings bags of pace, something we desperately need. Josh Scowen is beloved by Barnsley fans for his role as a tough tackling terrier from their League One promotion team. Many of them are saying they’d take him back now and he does have recent history of leading a club out of this division. Lafferty and John are in the same boat in terms of risk and reward. If they end up becoming random cult heroes then great, but if they float further out to obscurity by offering little, then that wouldn’t be a shock either.
With so much at the club being up in the air, I think Parkinson has had a reasonable window. But anyone expecting big money, flash names and guaranteed performances from this past month must have been living in cloud-cuckoo-land. It’s not a disaster and it’s not a statement of intent either, but I’m hopeful we have enough to by hook or by crook - get promoted. Perhaps I’m in cloud cuckoo land too.