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Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light

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Keeping hold of Sunderland’s best players is as crucial as signing new players this summer

“Sunderland have - so far - managed to hang on to some of their best players. Has the club received enough credit for this?” asks Ewan Bowman.

Photo by Will Matthews/PA Images via Getty Images

After finishing 6th last season many fans may have been fearing a max exodus of our star players this summer. However, at the time of writing this has not materialised.

Whilst fans are questioning incomings at the club, on the flip side of the coin the club need applauding for their firm stance on keeping its best players.

Throughout the summer there have been numerous bids from Premier League new boys Burnley for winger Jack Clarke. The last bid tabled was for £13 million which was quickly rejected. The club have retained the stance that it is below their valuation of the player. Clarke has also stated he is happy at Sunderland.

Another player that has been linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light has been star defender Dan Ballard. Signed from Arsenal last season, Ballard endured an injury hit first campaign at the club making only 19 Championship appearances. However, when he played he made a huge impact at the heart of the defence.

West Ham United were linked with a move earlier in the transfer window. But the club quickly tied him down to a new long term contract. This shows that players fully believe in the club and the club believe in the players.

New Mexico United v Sunderland: Pre-Season Friendly
Dan Ballard was linked with West Ham earlier this summer
Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Another player this week who has been linked with a move to Celtic has been Patrick Roberts, which was quickly dismissed by Tony Mowbray in the press conference ahead of the Coventry game.

Mowbray was asked if he was confident that Patrick Roberts would stay at the club and he said “Definitely, 100 percent”.

The club's stance is clear. Unless clubs are willing to pay big money none of our players are for sale. This has to be applauded as previous owners and regimes have not only sold players for pocket change, but completely asset-striped the entire club.

Sunderland v Luton Town - Sky Bet Championship
Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman under the spotlight
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

As the transfer window has progressed one or two murmurs on social media have come to the surface regarding the lack of signings in particular a striker with Speakman regularly mentioned.

Whilst we all acknowledge that we need a number 9, signing the right one for the way we play is crucial. We are a high-pressing, possession-based team and just signing someone for the sake of it is an approach that the club have adopted in the past which has not worked.

Tony Mowbray has been extremely calm in press conferences when questioned about potential incomings and is confident that the club will get deals done before the window closes on Friday 1st September at 11pm.

Ross Stewart is back on the grass training and should be available soon, which will provide Sunderland a huge boost.

Sunderland v Rotherham United - Sky Bet Championship
Tony Mowbray Sunderland Head Coach
Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Sunderland have brought in seven new players in this transfer window, with Jobe Bellingham in particular impressing so far this season - bagging 2 goals in the 2-1 win at home to Rotherham. He signed a four year contract this summer which shows ambition and shows the confidence that the club have in him becoming a star player in the future.

Further positive news this summer has been in tying down Trai Hume, Dan Ballard and Dennis Cirkin to new long term contracts. These players are players with bags of potential and show that Sunderland is a great place to develop, play games, grow as a player and these players will be vital moving forward.

Whilst everyone likes new signings. We all need to take a step back and realise we have a very talented squad that if all are fit will be a threat to teams again this season.


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