It goes without saying that no football transfer window will ever be perfect.
Be it Sunderland, Manchester City or Hartlepool, clubs rarely secure all of their targets during the summer or the winter, regardless of how much money they may have in the kitty.
For Sunderland, this particular window has given the fans plenty to talk about, as well as many reasons to be positive. In recent weeks, there have been calls for a new striker to provide greater depth behind Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms, and in Manchester United’s Amad Diallo, who has joined on loan, I think that we have the player we were looking for.
On the back of our flying start to the season, Simms and Stewart are firmly established as our first-choice strike partnership, and there seemed to be an acceptance any additional attacking signings would likely play second fiddle. In Diallo, however, we have a player who is comfortable playing as a striker, and can also play out wide if needs be.
Last season, we saw the difference that a speedy, direct attacker can make in the shape of Nathan Broadhead, and Diallo offers Tony Mowbray a similar option. Indeed, the same could be said for Jewison Bennette, who played through the middle for his former club and has also scored for his country.
During the summer, the quality of Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts was already recognised, but Clarke’s performances since the start of the season have indicated that we have a real match-winner on our hands.
For me, however, the signing of Edouard Michut is the most exciting, but also the most thought-provoking transfer so far.
After joining on the back of some positive reviews from those closest to Paris Saint-Germain, it is clear that he has the potential to provide some real quality behind the strikers, the responsibility of which is currently on Alex Pritchard’s shoulders.
If he lives up to the hype, Michut could become a significant member of our squad, but the real test will come as the season progresses. It is abundantly clear that Sunderland want to play a high pressing, high-tempo passing game, but as weather and pitch conditions change during the autumn and winter, Michut will have to adapt.
Elsewhere, Abdoullah Ba’s arrival from Le Havre was eventually followed by the departure of Carl Winchester to Shrewsbury. Winchester’s exit seems to hint at the possibility of Luke O’Nien and Jay Matete providing the muscle in midfield should Corry Evans be injured, whilst Ba may be deployed in a more attacking role.
Thursday gave rise to the hope that more faces would walk through the door before the window closed, but it didn’t happen, and we will have to face the fact that the squad remains light in some areas.
The lack of further additions at centre-half or left-back suggests that the club believes that we already have enough defensive cover, but I am sure that they will be working hard to speed up Daniel Ballard’s return to action.
After the events of the previous seven days, possibly the biggest positive was the fact that Thursday did not see an exodus of key players following the departure of Alex Neil. Tony Mowbray now has four months to get his new squad to gel, and to understand what tweaks he might need to make in January.
Those at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday, as well as the fans watching live on Sky Sports, cannot fail to have been impressed with the skill and the application of those on the pitch.
Given the quality of the sides in this division, we cannot get carried away, but we can head to Middlesborough on Monday in the knowledge that we have a squad that can be a handful for anyone on their day.