With the new League One season just one week away, clubs in England’s third tier have been desperately trying to improve their squads ahead of their opening game. Sunderland, a club expected to be in the promotion race once again, appear to have fallen behind other promotion hopefuls in their bid to build a squad capable of mounting a serious bid to escape League One. With many players leaving this summer, this Sunderland transfer window has been slightly underwhelming.
Sunderland Transfer Window: Black Cats Must Strengthen
Just Three in After Many Leave
So far, only three new players have arrived at the Stadium of Light this summer. With many leaving Wearside when their contracts ended, the Black Cats needed to bring in players to fill several key areas.
Amongst those who left included last season’s top scorer Charlie Wyke, who hit 31 goals last term. Midfielder and captain Max Power was surprisingly allowed to leave and has joined Wyke at Wigan Athletic.
Fan favourite Chris Maguire left for Lincoln City, while midfielders Josh Scowen and the experienced Grant Leadbitter were also told their services were no longer required.
Squad players, such as full-back Conor McLaughlin and keeper Remi Matthews, also left.
Lee Johnson also lost loan star Dion Sanderson and on-loan Rangers winger Jordan Jones. Left-back Denver Hume, whose contract has expired, has been offered a new deal but has yet to commit his future to the club and remains a free agent.
Pritchard, a former £11 million signing for Huddersfield Town, arrived on a free transfer as did Evans, the brother of Leicester City defender Jonny Evans. Pritchard, however, was struck down with Covid soon after signing and is unlikely to be available for the start of the season.
At just 17, Callum Doyle may be seen as a risk; however, his performances in pre-season suggests he is very capable of handling the rigours of the football league.
It’s of little doubt that Sunderland are short in several areas, especially at full-back where midfielders have been asked to play in pre-season. There’s much work ahead for Lee Johnson and his recruitment team.
With the lack of recruitment at Sunderland, the club are now in a position that they are playing catch-up to potential promotion rivals. The likes of Wigan and Ipswich Town among others have invested and recruited heavily in new players. They did so early in this crucial transfer window to allow the players time to settle.
Should Sunderland sign the players they require, it will be asking a lot for them all to hit the ground running and perform to the best of their abilities so quickly in new surroundings, with new teammates and a new manager.
Lee Johnson Having Sleepless Nights Over Sunderland Transfer Window
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson has admitted he is having sleepless nights ahead of the new season due to his squad been low on numbers. When asked about the number of players he believes are still needed, Johnson said: I think we need a few, to be honest.
“If you gave me six, I’d take six. I wouldn’t say I’m comfortable [with where Sunderland are] – I’m having sleepless nights, that’s for sure.
“What I am comfortable with is that we are working extremely hard in the background. It’s a tough division this year and you have to have the quality, but at the moment we are a bit short.”
Two Key Players Staying a Positive
Much to the delight of Johnson and the fans was that two key players agreed to sign new contracts with the club. Luke O’Nien and Aiden McGeady agreed to stay following their previous contracts expiring. There had been serious concerns that both would move on to a higher division; however, both are ready to play their part next season.