After last season’s disastrous events, Sunderland ended up back in the Championship after a decade of Premier League football. A new manager, Simon Grayson was instilled to build a squad capable of competing in the second tier and if possible returning to the Premier League sooner rather than later. However, with a shoestring budget to work with, he would need to wheel and deal.
After several weeks of uncertainty as to who would be in control of the club and who would replace the departed David Moyes, the Black Cats finally appointed Simon Grayson. The ex Leeds United and Preston boss quickly got to work bringing in new faces, moving on those who did not want to stay and giving confidence to the current players who had been a part of last seasons dismal relegation. Ten players were brought in with 14 departing. Here is how the 2017 summer transfer window went on Wearside.
Sunderland’s Summer Transfer Dealings: A Review
Robbin Ruiter (Free)
Signed after a successful trial period. The Dutchman enjoyed a successful five years at Utrecht but an injury ruled him out for much of last season. He has impressed many since arriving and is currently fighting it out with another new signing for the Number 1 jersey.
Jason Steele (£500,000)
A former North East Sports Writers Young Player of the Year, the former Middlesbrough and Blackburn number one was the second of only three players that Sunderland paid a fee for. After a disappointing home debut in the friendly defeat to Celtic, Steele has recovered and produced some assured displays.
Brendon Galloway (Loan)
Simon Grayson’s first signing. The highly thought of Everton youngster can play at centre back or left back. Due to injuries in the squad, Galloway has been used at left back; however, some nervous displays have seen him replaced. His versatility could see him be a useful squad member.
Tyias Browning (Loan)
Another loan signing from Everton. The young central defender has been reunited with Simon Grayson having been on loan at Preston North End last season. Has started the season well and is aiming to make one of the centre back positions his own.
Marc Wilson (Free)
Signed a one year deal on transfer deadline day. The former Stoke and Bournemouth defender brings plenty of experience with him and could prove to be an excellent addition to Sunderland’s defence.
Aiden McGeady (£250,000)
Another player Grayson knows well. Performed well whilst on loan at Preston last season and the winger will be hoping to bring some creativity to the Black Cats attack. The Republic of Ireland international brings with him a wealth of experience having played for Celtic, Everton and Spartak Moscow among others. He is also closing in on a century of international appearances. Has started the season well and at £250,000 he could prove to be a bargain.
Calum McManaman (Free)
Signed a two year deal on transfer deadline day after being allowed to leave West Bromwich Albion for free. The former Wigan Athletic winger, who was once the man of the match in the FA Cup Final, is another creative player who is capable of supplying pin point crosses and can also unlock opposition defences. Still only 26 years old, he could prove to be an excellent free signing.
Jonny Williams (Loan)
Another to sign on the final day of the transfer window. The Crystal Palace midfielder comes to Wearside on a season long loan. The 23 year-old Welsh international has plenty of experience at Championship level as well as at international level. Currently with the Wales squad ahead of their World Cup qualifiers, the attack minded midfielder could prove to be an excellent addition to Grayson’s squad.
James Vaughan (£500,000)
Signed from League One side Bury. He was last season’s second top scorer in League One, scoring 24 goals. These goals helped Bury secure their place in the division after fighting relegation. The former Everton striker has the ability to succeed at Championship level; however he has had a slow start to his Sunderland career. A classic case of “needs a goal”.
Lewis Grabban (Loan)
Signed on a season long loan from Bournemouth. The striker has started well and has scored three times so far. He has a wealth of experience at Championship level and has scored many goals. As well as helping both Bournemouth and Norwich to promotion, he has also represented them in the Premier League.
Credit to Grayson
With only £1.25 million spent, Grayson has done well to bring in the players he has done. The Black Cats required many new faces and Grayson has delivered by signing many with not only Premier League experience but also with vital Championship experience. Grayson missed out on several targets but on the whole he will be pleased with who he has managed to bring in, especially with the budget he had.
Jordan Pickford (£30 million)
Vito Mannone (Undisclosed)
Jermain Defoe (Free)
Wahbi Khazri (Loan)
Fabio Borini (Loan)
Jeremain Lens (Loan)
Papy Djilobodji (Loan)
Max Stryjek (Loan)
Seb Larsson (Free)
Victor Anichebe (Free)
Steven Pienaar (Free)
Will Buckley (Free)
Jan Kirchhoff (Released)
Joleon Lescott (Released)
It was no surprise when many players departed. Although fans will be disappointed to see some go, especially England internationals Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe, it was clear that Sunderland needed a clear out.
Other first team players such as Didier Ndong and Lamine Koné were rumoured to be leaving also; however, manager Grayson will be pleased to have kept them for now.
A Twitter poll conducted by @LWOS_SAFC showed that out of those that voted, 22% thought the transfer window could have gone better.
Tough Season Ahead
It now remains to be seen if Grayson has done enough to make the Black Cats strong enough to compete at the top end of the table. With so many teams capable of gaining promotion it will be a tough season on Wearside. However, if Grayson can get his team playing to the best of its capabilities, then Sunderland will be in with a chance.
So far Sunderland have had a mixed start to life back in the Championship. Grayson will need to get his new players and the current crop integrated and playing together as soon as possible. Two home games are coming after the international break and maximum points will give confidence a huge and much needed boost.
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