How many players do you think Sunderland need to recruit this summer and what are our priorities?
Will Jones says...
Between 9-10. Which is a huge issue.
Stability and a core is paramount, and we don’t seem to be finding this at all. A constant exodus and influx of new talent is the same every year. I believe we have 16 senior squad players, and that is if you include Aiden McGeady.
We need a keeper to fight with Lee Burge and possibly another on loan.
Another left back for competition with Hume, and maybe play them this time.
Replacements for the outgoing Alim Ozturk and Tommy Smith are required. Another central midfield player is also needed if Embleton stays and is played more advanced.
A player to play behind the striker would be ideal, preferably with some power speed and vision, but it’s League One, so pick one of those three. Definitely another winger, but if McGeady does leave, which I believe he will, then we’ll likely require two, and then on top of that of course, another Striker.
In terms of priorities, a championship level central defender and a top quality player at the other end of the pitch, whether it be a striker or someone to play behind. A work horse, someone composed. That is essential in this league. On average the defence will make errors multiple times during the game and chances should be aplenty, so a composed player in and around there is vital when taking your chances.
Philip West says...
Phil Parkinson has already stated that he is aiming to bring in seven or eight new players this summer. That could be seen as wildly ambitious or simply unrealistic, but I think it’s quite an accurate number if we want to improve the squad to the required level.
In terms of positions, starting from defence, two new centre backs and another goalkeeper would be the aim. Lee Burge is a capable shot-stopper, but I’d like to see us bring in someone who can provide him with some competition. We also need to shore up the centre of defence with someone of strength and positional awareness. The entire back line must function as one cohesive unit if we are to avoid conceding silly goals.
Moving forward, a creative midfielder and two pacy, skilful wingers are the reinforcements I’d be looking for in midfield. At the moment, our midfield consists of a lot of graft but not much guile, and I’d like to see us change that.
Let’s try and recruit players who can unlock opposition defences with some incisive passes through the middle, and who can beat their opponents and whip crosses in from the flanks. We need to try and play the game at a quicker pace, and this would help us greatly.
Finally, at least two new strikers are required. This is an area in which we sorely need to improve. At this moment, there are simply not enough goals in our forward line, and we are far too reliant upon Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch to produce some magic in front of goal.
Two quick, predatory forwards who can bury chances in a flash are an absolute must. The likes of Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg simply aren’t prolific enough, and we must change that if we are to be in the promotion mix next season.
Michael Dunne says...
Unfortunately, which can be the nature of the beast in the lower leagues, it looks Sunderland will need a complete overhaul. There is not one position where I don’t think we need to strengthen from goalkeeper to centre forward, whether we can get the right players in will be the question.
Clearly after losing John McLaughlin, we will need another goalkeeper of decent quality to challenge Lee Burge who I hope is given the opportunity of being number 1 this season. I think the spine of our team is where we need clear beefing up. Signing Bailey Wright would go a long way to improving our defence, it was clear for everyone to see the difference he made when he was fit and playing well. I do think if he didn’t get injured, we may have been in top 2 in League One before the season shut down.
In addition, a central midfielder who can create is something we are lacking big time. I think it is imperative if Sunderland want to challenge for the title that we have a midfielder who can chip in with goals from midfield, the way Honeyman and Cattermole did? Would you take them back? I certainly wouldn’t rule it out.
It’s stating the obvious that we need a goalscorer up front. A guaranteed 20 goals man. History would tell you that we have that in Will Grigg but I honestly cannot see him ever recapturing his previous form, and while Charlie Wyke offers a presence, he simply does not score enough goals. I don’t know who is the man to lead the line but it is certainly another must if we are to stand a chance of promotion.
Martin Wanless says...
The new season has a huge sign on it marked ‘last chance saloon’. Get up, and we can rebuild. Stay down, and we are down there for eternity. Well, maybe not. But it’ll seem like that.
So, it’s imperative we are ruthless in our choices when building - at short notice - a team to tackle next season.
In goal, the big question mark is whether Lee Burge is up to the job. From last season’s performances there was little to choose between him and Jon McLaughlin, and I think the ex Coventry stopper will assume first choice duties. An experienced back up will be required. Hello Ben Alnwick.
If we persist with the 3-4-3 formation Parkinson sacrificed a quarter of last season to establish, then Luke O’Nien is a shoe in at right wing back. McLaughlin provides good back up - despite last season’s evidence.
Jordan Willis offers quality at centre back, as will - hopefully - second signing Bailey Wright. A third centre back - preferably left-footed - is needed too.
At left wing back, Hume looked great and woefully out of his depth in equal part last time out. With little to no cover, a first choice left wing back is required. If Hume wins his place on merit, kudos to him.
In midfield, a playmaker is needed. Max Power is proven at this level, but I’m not convinced by Dobson. Scowen, however, should, establish himself.
Up front, we need a striker. Or two. Unless somehow Parkinson can find the secret to unlocking Will Grigg. Which is unlikely. Wyke isn’t a goalscorer, and simply doesn’t offer enough, so a goalscorer is needed, and a back up. Where’s the modern-day Marco?!
Out wide, Maguire and Gooch offer quality, however an option with pace and trickery will be needed.
Add a couple of back ups, that’s 10. It’s going to be a busy six weeks.
Philip Butler says...
No matter the exact number of players needed, it’s clear that Sunderland need to make many new signings in the shortened summer transfer window. The exact number is probably between 8 and 10, depending on whether you include Bailey Wright as a new signing, and on the situation with Benji Kimpioka.
The main priorities must be the starting eleven, and of these 8-10 players four should be ready to go straight into the team. A new goalkeeper to replace Jon McLaughlin is a given, as is Bailey Wright (or an alternative).
I also think it’s important to sign a slightly different type of central midfielder who is able to play alongside Power or Dobson, but offers more going forward than last seasons preferred pairing. Finally, and perhaps most importantly Sunderland are crying out for a new striker someone with the pace to stretch games, but also the strength to act as a target man in Parkinson’s system.
Beyond the first team Sunderland lack depth in a few different positions. The outgoing Alim Ozturk, Joel Lynch, Declan John and Antoine Semenyo mean that two centre backs, a left back and a back up for Lynden Gooch are all needed.
It would be a bonus if one of these centre backs was left-footed, especially if Parkinson continues with three at the back. On top of this, Luke O’Nien is the only real right wing back, so either a winger able to play at wing back, or an attacking midfielder which would allow Gooch to take up this role is also needed for reasons of squad depth.
It’s going to be a busy summer.