The summer transfer window is fast approaching and for many clubs, a desperate and frantic few months lie ahead.
During previous windows, this would’ve been Sunderland; either desperately holding onto better players whilst stabbing frantically in the dark to add to our ranks. In years gone by, we added plenty of poor players who ended up as little more than deadwood.
Our fresh approach to recruitment has doubtless made us the envy of many clubs in this league, and careful and considerate analysis of the positions most in need of strengthening and then identifying players most suited for those positions has turned our squad into a well-oiled machine.
With a fully fit squad, there are almost two players for every position, and with half a dozen strong and well recruited signings, we’ll head into next season even more well-placed than we finished the last.
In terms of our fringe players, there’ll certainly be some decisions to be made.
We’ve already seen Carl Winchester depart, and discussions with Leon Dajaku and Jay Matete will also be held. Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen Edouard Michut remain in addition to Jobe Bellingham, who’s almost our player, according to many reports.
However, the Frenchman has headed back to Paris and the potential signing of Bellingham signals that the club wants to bring in more physically astute players- a move which we can all agree is needed after the end of last season.
Recent transfer windows have been seemingly fine-tuned, with our approach to recruitment as efficient and promising it’s been in a very long time.
On the other hand, if I had a pound for every time I’d seen or heard a sentence starting with ‘If we’d had Ross Stewart…’, I’d be writing this article from a beach bar in the Caribbean.
I do think the big man will be our player next season, but there’s no doubt that we need to sign one or preferably two additional strikers. His goals have been missed but it can also be argued that we’ve missed his ability to defend from the front.
If our strike force for 2023/2024 comprises Stewart, Joe Gelhardt and another young but proven forward, I’ll be very happy, especially if our attacking midfielders are back doing what they do best.
I’ve highlighted how this summer is one of change for Sunderland, but not in terms of a massive overhaul of our recruitment.
The aspect of change is the way in which we deal with our transfers and how- for the first time in a long time- we don’t need to go out and sign ten or more players in order to plug holes. It’s very much ‘quality over quantity’, and I’ve every confidence that the recruitment will provide us with what we need to have another good run at promotion.
With a huge injury list, we did far more than just limp through to the end of the season by reaching the playoffs.
Factor in that our young players have had a full season of competitive first team football and add into this the summer recruitment plan which is no doubt filed and ready to be put into action by Kristjaan Speakman, Stuart Harvey and company, it’s a time to be genuinely excited if you’re of a red and white persuasion.