Chris Camm says...
My gut reaction to this was a resounding yes. Recent performances have shown we are in serious need of more quality, and Lee Johnson has already identified in an interview the lack of power and pace throughout the side. So, it makes sense to use January to go out and address those problems, especially if we want any chance of reaching the play-offs this season.
But, with that said, would it be wise to rush and get any old signings made?
Even more recently, Johnson pointed out that he expects a number of bargains to be available in the latter stages of the window as the salary cap begins to effect clubs. Clearly he has his eye on a few targets to be this churlish about potential signings, and means I’m not too concerned about the lack of action so far this month.
Of course, we also have to be careful. January is a notoriously difficult window to work in, and we also have to think about the salary cap. That is doubled with a list as long your arm of out of contract players this summer, and means the recruitment needs to be effective in the short term but also set us up for what we want to achieve in the summer.
Ultimately, the reason why I don’t think we should be rushing into any signings just because of our recent poor form is because while we know that this squad is underperforming right now, the manager still hasn’t really had enough time to work out which of his current playing staff are up for the task, and which need to move on come the end of the season.
He has players returning from injury, and although it's a cliché, they will feel like new signings to Johnson who has barely had time to work with them.
The need to get our next new signings absolutely right has never been as high, so if the perfect player for Johnson’s plans doesn’t come along, then I think moving on with what we’ve got and shifting our focus to next summer will be a more sensible approach than recklessly throwing any old name into the hat.
Michael Graham says...
In a word, no. That’s not to say I don’t believe we don’t need to strengthen, if ‘strengthen’ is even a sufficient word for what the Sunderland squad requires right now.
My lack of concern is more borne of an absolute absence of faith that the current regime can get it right. I’ve heard good things about Speakman and been generally impressed with Johnson, but there can be little doubt that they have walked into a club that is utterly bereft of the tools they require to implement anything like a quick fix or even a temporary patch-up job.
Unless a real no-brainer of a deal lands in our laps, I’d prefer the club keep their powder dry this month. The takeover is close, investment in the recruitment side of the club if hopefully incoming, and once that’s in place I have confidence that Speakman and Johnson can make a difference here.
But for now, I just sense that any contract we hand out will likely just be another mistake we have to rectify later.
Jack Gingell says...
I’d love us to go out and bring in 3-4 quality players who could make an immediate impact and have us challenging, but this is a fantasy. I’d be more concerned if we started throwing ourselves in head first into signings, much like we did with Will Grigg.
If we are trying to build something with Speakman and Johnson at the helm, then a scattergun approach would be a waste of time, and it’s about time we moved away from that style (if you can even call it a style).
In all likelihood even with some transfers, we will be fortunate to make the play-offs comfortably, based upon our inconsistency. It would arguably make more sense to plan a serious recruitment drive in the summer.
We have a number of players out of contract, and will likely lose a lot of them. A blank canvass to work with for hopefully new ownership and footballing structure may be the tonic we need.
Phil Butler says...
I’m actually rather pleased with the way Sunderland’s transfer business has gone so far. Mainly because I’m of the opinion that the January market is a bit of a trap, where teams overpay for a short-term fix which rarely works and leave them with an overpaid player to get rid of six months later. Yes, I’m looking at you Will Grigg.
The salary cap also limited the extent to which Sunderland can start to plan for next season without getting rid of those players who are surplus to requirements. The signing of Carl Winchester seems like a decent replacement for whoever out of Grant Leadbitter, George Dobson and Josh Scowen who leave the club at the end of their contract, but without finding a new home for the riff-raff similar deals are impossible.
Something I would like to see between now and the end of the window is a couple of short-term loan signings with very little risk attached, just to fill some gaps in the squad before we reassess in the summer.
Denver Hume’s injury and Callum McFadzean’s ineptitude makes left back one of these positions, whilst Lee Johnson’s preferences for a big, athletic centre forward means a loanee like Tammy Abraham - who Johnson had at Bristol City - would be a dream.