A lot of moaning and concern has been emanating from Sunderland fans over our relatively sluggish start to the transfer window.
On one hand, this can be justified by looking around at our rivals getting plenty of business done and dusted early doors. Yet, on the other hand, we are slowly but surely rebuilding the squad.
This opportunity doesn’t come along too often, and it’s one that should be taken. Panic buying (or loaning) has been our undoing in the past, and we’ve been able to clear the decks of some players who had been weighing us down for too long.
One position that needs addressing is our central midfield. Four senior midfielders departed at the end of last season. With Luke O’Nien likely to be used more as a centre midfielder next season, we perhaps needed one more senior player to fill this position. Corry Evans has done this, and along with Carl Winchester, Elliot Embleton, Dan Neil and Alex Pritchard our engine room is already looking much stronger and faster than last season.
We didn’t rush into this, and have only needed to sign two players to make our midfield options look significantly better.
Now that our ranks of middle men look full, attention will no doubt turn elsewhere. Defenders are the biggest concern now, but the slow approach to recruitment doesn’t necessarily need to be a worry.
With one right back, no left back and only three fit centre halves on the books, the squad list has more holes in it than Swiss cheese.
Denver Hume is taking his sweet time to sign his new deal, Conor McLaughlin was perhaps under-utilised and the less said about Callum McFadzean, the better.
These three have all featured in failed League One campaigns, the question, therefore, is can we do better than them? Let’s hope the patient approach to replacing them means that we can.
The departure of none of the players let go by the club, with maybe the exception of Grant Leadbitter, left me feeling disappointed. They had all been brought in to get us out of League One and, ultimately, they had failed.
We shouldn’t be facing up to a fourth season in this division, but we haven’t come close to being deserving promotion candidates very often during this time. Rebuilding the squad, therefore, is a necessity.
Yet it is of vital importance to not repeat mistakes of the past. Our squad has often lacked strength, guile and pace. An agile centre forward would be lovely, and pace in the middle of the park will hopefully put an end to any stagnant performances.
There’s still plenty of time to fill up the squad, but that 7th August season opener will come around sooner rather than later. The rebuild of the decade is only halfway done – and the success of next season rests in who is brought in and how well they adapt in the next three weeks.