April 19, 2024

Sunderland are hoping to improve their promotion chances in the January transfer window.
The January transfer market is now open, and speculation about Sunderland’s plans has already begun.

Here, we look at what sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has previously said about the window, as well as what fans might expect as a result…
Given the club’s continuous troubles this season, Kristjaan Speakman was questioned at Michael Beale’s unveiling as head coach late last month whether money will be made available in the January transfer window to hire a new striker.

What he had to say…

“We certainly want to convert some of our dominance into more goals, and if you look at the team that Michael took at Rangers you are talking about a high-possession team that had to break down teams that played a low block, so there are a lot of similarities in terms of some of the more recent teams Michael’s teams have played against,” he said.

“From a coaching standpoint, he can come in and share some additional ideas about how we can be more effective there.”

In terms of the transfer window, the club has always invested in the near term, but also in the medium and long term, to attempt to increase the quality.


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“We’ll continue to approach that, and we have been on with that piece of work since the [summer] transfer window closed and that will run alongside everything we have done in recent weeks.”

What it implies…

As part of the recruitment process for Beale, there was definitely an emphasis on enhancing Sunderland’s productivity in the final third, and part of his role is to develop those players who are already in the building. Beale has stated that he has some ideas for when there is more time on the training field, implying that he believes his team is guilty of overplaying in the final third.

Nazariy Rusyn’s goal against Preston is a great boost and should give him a start, but Sunderland are believed to be wanting to improve in the forward areas if feasible. They are unlikely to deviate from their recruitment policy of bringing in players with resale value from undervalued markets, thus any permanent acquisitions will almost definitely fit that mold. Another option is to reshuffle their loan options, with summer target Jay Stansfield recently linked with a move. Such an addition could be contingent on Mason Burstow’s future, who could be recalled by Chelsea this month due to a lack of playing time. However, because he has already played for two clubs this season, he cannot go on loan elsewhere.
Speakman’s words also make it obvious that Sunderland fans should expect further additions in the style of their current work. Succession planning is an important element of their process, and even if January is a difficult market, they will add long-term assets if possible. It is known that they pursued wide players until the end of the summer window, so that is one area that could be explored.

What he had to say…

“I don’t think it’s a difficult conundrum,” remarked Speakman.

“I’m not sure who said ‘the model,’ but I think it was me, and if it was, I should probably check myself because that has come back every [time].” It’s simply a matter of having a well-organized organization in your football team. Selling the player’s portion is a byproduct of success, and it should be based on the club’s decision in partnership with the athlete at the time. Over the last few years, the football club has turned down numerous bids on numerous players, and we have only sold one player.

“I believe there is a slight misrepresentation of the club’s direction and goal because if we were a selling club, we would have made a lot of sales – and we haven’t.” When players perform exceptionally well and draw the attention of Premier League clubs, the situation becomes tough.

“But our ownership has been rock-solid around that and I don’t think we will be looking to trade players when we have that opportunity to get promoted.”

What it implies…

Speakman has recently attempted to refute the notion that Sunderland is a “selling club,” emphasizing how rarely they have let their best players leave and how many bids they have turned down.

The implication is clear: Clarke will not be sold in January unless there is a massive deal, which is still a possibility. Sunderland are in a strong position since Clarke has two and a half years left on his present deal, and both parties are thought to see a January exit as unlikely at this point. Given that negotiations for a new contract have stalled, things could alter in the summer if Sunderland do not get promotion to the Premier League. Speakman’s remarks apply to a number of other players associated with moves, notably Dan Neil and Pierre Ekwah. Sunderland’s strategy is to get successors in the building before selling, which hasn’t happened yet in those crucial positions.

Of course, this may all change rapidly if Premier League clubs make jaw-dropping bids, but substantial exits appear to be far more likely in the summer window than in the winter.

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