Following a slow start in this summer’s transfer window, Sunderland’s patience paid off with a string of excellent signings. Several players were allowed to leave at the end of last season and in have come young hungry players from the Premier League and abroad alongside more experienced pros. Alongside those who have joined the club, the Sunderland transfer window has seen the likes of Will Grigg depart the club once again.
Nine new players arrived with a new recruitment strategy in place. It’s a strategy that has seen more younger players arrive than ever before. In previous transfer windows, the Black Cats targeted experienced players who knew what League One football was all about. With the club now playing their fourth consecutive season in England’s third tier, it became clear that the previous way of recruiting was unsuccessful.
Only time will tell, but, with a new strategic approach to signing players, Sunderland may have found the formula to find their way out of League One.
Sunderland Transfer Window Review: New Recruitment Strategy Working
Sunderland Transfer Window Review: Incomings
Bayern Munich keeper Ron-Thorben Hoffmann arrived on deadline day on a season-long loan. Should the 22-year-old impress, there is an option for Lee Johnson to sign him on a permanent deal. The highly-rated German is expected to compete for the number one position immediately. An excellent shot-stopper who is also comfortable with the ball at his feet, Hoffmann should have no problems settling into Lee Johnson’s playing philosophy.
An area of the field that had the biggest overhaul. Sunderland struggled to have a settled defence last season due to injury and, with the club missing out on Dion Sanderson who returned to his parent club, and players being allowed to leave, recruits were needed.
Callum Doyle joined from Manchester City on a season-long loan and the 17-year-old has impressed in both his form and maturity above his age. Fellow centre-back Frederik Alves also joined on loan from West Ham United. The highly-rated defender joined the Hammers in January and will get his first taste of English football at the Stadium of Light this season.
Fullbacks Dennis Cirkin and Niall Huggins joined on permanent deals from Tottenham Hotspur and Leeds United respectively. Left-back Cirkin signed a three-year deal, with the 19-year-old arriving with a glowing reputation. Huggins signed a four-year deal and, although the 20-year-old is primarily a right-back, he can play in a number of positions.
Two experienced midfielders were signed this summer to complement youngsters such as Dan Neil and Elliott Embleton. Northern Ireland international Corry Evans arrived on a free transfer following eight years at Blackburn Rovers. He signed a two-year deal and was named captain for the new season.
Former £12 million midfielder Alex Pritchard joined on a two-year contract following his release from Huddersfield Town. The former Tottenham player is hoping to return to the kind of form that saw Norwich City pay £8 million and Huddersfield £12 million
Everton forward Nathan Broadhead signed on loan for the season. The 23-year-old Welsh youth international can play as a striker or as a winger. The pacy forward has Premier League and Europa League experience with Everton as well as League One experience from a spell on loan at Burton Albion.
Deadline day also brought in a second player from Germany. Winger Leon Dajaku joined on an initial season-long loan deal with an option to buy. Dajaku had previously been on loan at Union Berlin from Bayern Munich last season with Berlin taking up the option to buy the player on deadline day before immediately loaning him to Sunderland.
Speaking after he signed, Dajaku was clearly delighted to have put pen to paper. He said: “I always looked to the football in England and I always wanted to come here, so when I heard I could, it felt like the right step. I’ve seen some of the games and it’s crazy how many fans come in the first division, but this – having the fans push you – is what I like. It feels very good to sign for Sunderland and I’m very proud to be here.”
Sunderland Transfer Window Review: Outgoings
Several experienced players left at the end of last season with the club opting not to renew their contracts, and allowing them to leave. Players such as fan favourite Chris Maguire, last season’s captain Max Power, Grant Leadbitter, top scorer Charlie Wyke amongst others left the club.
As the transfer window wore on, Sunderland worked hard to either sell unwanted players or allow others to leave on loan to further their development. Although the outgoings were not as productive as the incomings, here are the two main departures following those who left at the end of last season.
To say that Will Grigg’s time on Wearside was a disaster would be an understatement. Signed for a fee which could have reached £4 million two and a half years ago, it was believed at the time that he would fire the club to promotion. However, he would score just eight times in 60 games. His contract is set to expire at the end of the season and, with a loan move to Rotherham United expected to last until then, Grigg has likely played his last game for Sunderland.
Young winger Jack Diamond has moved to Harrogate Town on loan until the end of the season. This will be Diamond’s second spell on loan at Harrogate. He is highly thought of at Sunderland and signed a new three-year deal earlier this year. This move will be in the hope that he will develop with the prospect of playing regular competitive football.
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