For so long the transfer activity at Sunderland revolved around players looking for a last pay day, free transfers nobody else wanted or a combination of both - which just seemed like David Moyes telephone book from his 2008 Everton season!
This summer we saw a long list (as we always do) of players linked to the club only to see them sign somewhere else amidst much fanfare and comments of 'as soon as i heard of the interest from <insert name of 'sleeping giant'>. There was a lot of discontent amongst a fanbase fearing we were being left behind - "why hadn't we signed anyone?" "I'd have taken him he's better than X", along with people who also stayed strong and tried to believe in the clubs plan and vision - difficult to do as its been very rare that the club have ever had either.
Looking at the clubs that were going to be in and around the promotion places....
Wigan - signed all the players we released as well as some quite astue signings from lower teams and seem like genuine contenders - though not convinced big Charlies 2 goal return is what they were expecting.
Ipswich - struggling, a lot of their fans saying they're taking time to gel - theyve had the same preseason as us but seemed to have signed the players from 'best player at an average club' category
Portsmouth - the Cowleys not quite ticking all the boxes and already under pressure
Sheff Wed - haven't hit the ground running and may take a little while to get to where everyone thinks they should be - apart from Sheff Wed fans who dont think they'll be at the top anyway
Others such as Lincoln, Charlton and Wycombe aren't at the races either so we could say - on limited info - that this summers transfer window has been a success, we've got balance, we have options and finally we have pace - in lots of positions!
Now the question I wanted to pose......
Will all the fans trust in the model and the structure when the inevitable happens and next summer we sell one of our good players? Its going to happen, the model means that we sell - for example - someone like Huggins. signed for free (apart from the 15% sell on clause) and we sell him next summer when we receive a bid of £3m plus add ons up to £5m. The club will reinvest that - with a replacement - example Josh Key from Exeter for £1,5m and the surplus we use to keep the club sustainable. This is what we know is going to happen (Huggins and Key just an example). So how will the fans react? will their be anarchy because we sold someone who could have continued the journey with us? will everyone accept that this is how we operate? Brentford have made it to the PL with this model and reading about how they operated they knew they were selling Ollie Watkins, he knew he was leaving but they made Villa stay quiet, made the player stay quiet and brought in Toney for £10m before allowing Watkins to complete his move for £30m+