If someone dredges this back up in six months to tell me how wrong I was about how crap the players we’ve signed are, then I’ll hold my hands up if that is indeed the case, but this year’s summer transfer window - for me - couldn’t have gone much better.
For what feels like forever I’ve been desperate to see us do something a bit different.
Signing players with a bit of thought going into the process probably isn’t as straightforward as people think, given that almost nobody else tries to be unique and progressive in their approach to player recruitment.
Just look at Ipswich, who have signed no fewer than TWENTY players.
It may well work for them, and hats off if it does, but their slap-dash approach just seems strange to me. They’ve signed lots of players - lots of known names - with no real rhyme or reason to what they’ve done. How Paul Cook is going to manage to keep eight forwards (many of whom have played most of their football at a higher level) happy when he’s only really likely to select three of them at any given time remains a mystery.
At least with Sunderland you can see the sense in what we are trying to do.
We allowed Grant Leadbitter, Chris Maguire, Remi Matthews, Callum McFadzean, Conor McLaughlin, Max Power, Josh Scowen, George Dobson, Will Grigg and Charlie Wyke to leave the club over the summer - clearly, there’s been a big focus on bringing down the average age of the squad, as well as getting rid of players who aren’t capable of playing a high energy, athletic brand of football.
In their place, we’ve almost exclusively signed youth (with the exception of Corry Evans and Alex Pritchard, who have been signed for their experience at a higher level) - Dennis Cirkin, Niall Huggins, Leon Dajaku, Thorben Hoffman, Callum Doyle, Frederik Alves and Nathan Broadhead are all young, hungry, and have come from clubs right at the top of the tree.
The fact they’ve taken a step down shows they’re willing to muck in and prove themselves.
Importantly, it should bring standards up at the club. These are youth internationals with the ambition to play at the highest level. They won’t be content with playing third-tier football for very long, and rightly so.
There’s just a totally different mentality at the club when you shift away from signing League One plodders, and instead bring on board a raft of players who with a bit of time should be good enough to play at a much higher level.
We had to be patient in the first few weeks of August as things shaped up, but I think we can all agree that we’ve ended the window in cracking shape.
To be at this stage in a brilliant league position too just adds to the sense of hope - hope that things are going to continue moving forwards at pace.
If any other League One club had conducted the business that we have this summer I’d be insanely jealous. We’ve got a squad now that is surely the envy of most if not all of our competitors - and with a big target painted on our backs, now it’s about how we take that responsibility on, and keep picking up wins in big games.