In this transfer window we've once again seen ridiculous sums of money splashed about, particularly by big clubs, however we've now got clubs like Watford and Southampton spending upwards of £20m pounds on players. Clubs, which in an ideal world, we should be competing with. In this article I take a look at the drastic steps needed to change Sunderland's fortunes and once again become a decent Premier League side.
For starters, we need investment in players immediately, to get us back in to the Premier League. There's teams like Middlesbrough spending huge sums of money on proven Championship players, whilst we've spent about £1m, despite raking in around £35m in transfer fees. If we want to get back to the Premier League, some of that Pickford money has got to be reinvested into a few high quality players before the window shuts.
Now say we do get back first or even second attempt, it's no easy task, but hypothetically if we do - our transfer policy has GOT to change.
Hopefully we'll have new owners, ambitious ones, but regardless, the way we go about our business must change whoever runs the show. It's not a case of throwing money about at your Lens' and Khazris hoping something will happen. It won't. It's about identifying a system by which you want to play and buying quality players who fit that system. Not just any players either. We need young, hungry players with a desire to play and improve, much like Ndong. Not players with massive egos who are happy to sit on the bench unfit collecting their ludicrous wages before leaving for a nominal fee. We've had enough of those.
Another advantage of signing younger players, is the sell on value. If they have a good season or two they'll be flipped for a huge profit to a big club. Yes, it'd be disheartening to lose your best player every couple of years but it's inevitable, we're never going to be able to compete with the likes of Man Utd who have £1bn sponsorship deals or Man City who've spent £140m this window on full backs! But what this method would do is allow the club to succeed both on and off the pitch, with some of the funds from player sales being used to clear the club's ever rising debt, and some on new young players, and so the cycle continues and the ability of the squad continues to grow.
Just look at Southampton, they've took a gamble on players like Sadio Mane, Victor Wanyama, Virgil van Dijk, Nathaniel Clyne all of which have been huge successes and have been sold - or are about to be - for huge sums of money. That has allowed them to sign other great players like Dusan Tadic, Nathan Redmond and Manolo Gabbiadini to name a few. Now if one of the big teams were to slip up Southampton are first in line to capitalise and take a European place, having already done so in 2016. Are they a 'bigger' club than us? Have they got super rich owners? Arguably not on both accounts - so why shouldn't we be trying to emulate their success?
Admittedly, attracting players up north can sometimes be a problem, with plans to create a London based training complex for the club having been suggested to combat this issue. Although to be honest, if you're coming for the right reasons - to play football - it shouldn't matter.
Now obviously it sounds a lot simpler than it is, and it doesn't even sound particularly simple. But with the insane money being spent by the biggest clubs I truly believe the policies outlined earlier in the article are Sunderland's best chance of success in this new era of money mad football. Okay, we'd probably never break into the top 6 or 'do a Leicester', but it would be nice to see some real quality back at the Stadium of Light, less worries about what's going on upstairs, a team to be proud of, and who knows, maybe even another decent cup run?
Let's get phase one out of the way and get out of this league.