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Sunderland’s approach to recruitment can pay dividends, but only with time and patience

Some fans may be worried about the lack of transfer activity as the January window continues, but as Jon Guy writes, the club hierarchy clearly have a vision that they’re sticking to

Time for a transfer breakthrough?
| Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

The January transfer window has seen Sunderland linked with numerous names both at home and abroad, but they’ve not evolved into the traditional scarf-waving pictures at the Academy of Light.

During Friday’s pre-match press conference, Tony Mowbray expressed confidence that we’ll land some ‘young, exciting signings’ before the window closes- albeit with the caveat that it might see activity continuing up to the last minutes of the window.

It’s clear that Kristjaan Speakman and his team are sticking to their vision of looking for talented young players who can also help the team develop an attacking style of play.

Few of us can argue against that we’ve been playing some of the most attractive football we’ve seen at the Stadium of Light for a long time.

The momentum of the playoff final victory has been maintained, despite the loss of both Ellis Simms and Ross Stewart for an extended period during the first half of the season.

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

We’re currently three points off the playoffs in the middle of a hugely congested league table, with fine margins separating several clubs. We all want Sunderland to kick on between now and May, and there’s a growing belief that fresh legs are required.

The sudden departure of Simms makes the need for attacking reinforcements even more pressing.

What we don’t know is the nature of the conversations held between Speakman and his opposite number at Goodison Park over the likelihood of Simms returning to Sunderland before the end of the month.

For the player himself, the choice is clear: either stay at Everton or return to Wearside, with a loan move to another club out of the question.

We’ve been linked with a number of promising strikers and it might be a case of the club deciding that they can’t afford to wait for Everton to sort themselves out, one way or another.

Elsewhere, Jay Matete has left for Plymouth and a physical presence in midfield is a must.

Reading v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by David Horton - CameraSport via Getty Images

Pierre Ekwah, rumoured to be joining from West Ham, would fit the bill in terms of a physical box-to-box player, and if he was to arrive and prove to be as capable as his former teammate Aji Alese, few of us would be complaining.

In terms of incomings, we also seem to be targeting another Premier League club in Leeds United, and talk of Charlie Cresswell’s arrival is welcome, especially after Mowbray’s warnings about our defensive injury crisis.

Apart from Matete’s loan, we’ve yet to see any other members of the current squad leaving the club. However, it may well be that we’re playing a waiting game and will look to offload those deemed surplus to requirements when new faces arrive.

The biggest plus - and I really don’t want to tempt fate - is that Stewart is still at the club and the rumours surrounding his departure this month seem to have dried up considerably.

Despite the fans’ frustration, we have to be mindful that during the summer, many of the deals we completed were not after weeks of feverish speculation, and the first we heard of any interest was when pen was put to paper.

Speakman and the team do seem capable of completing their business without news being leaked to the media beforehand.

With that in mind, we have to hope that Mowbray is right and that the week ahead will see a string of young exciting signings unveiled. On the other hand, it may well be that the excitement will happen towards the end of the month.

That, it seems, is the new Sunderland way.

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