June 25, 2024

Sunderland’s sporting director, Kristjaan Speakman, believes the club is’very close’ to promotion with the current squad, therefore any sales might be small.

Assuming Sunderland does not win promotion this season, the club’s transfer model will be put to the test with Jack Clarke’s impending exit.

Clarke’s quality has progressed to the point that it is difficult to picture him playing in the Championship next season, and there are plenty of other Sunderland players wanted by top clubs.

Dan Neil, Pierre Ekwah, Trai Hume, Anthony Patterson, Dan Ballard, and Jobe Bellingham all have Premier League admirers, and the longer Sunderland remains in the Championship, the more likely it is that they will lose their top players.

Speakman, on the other hand, claims that will only happen if the club is not promoted while they remain on the team, which he believes is a real possibility in the coming years.

“I think it’s a blend,” he responded when asked if clubs need to sell players to expand.

“If you were able to maintain our group together and move it ahead, you might claim that you don’t need to sell a player and may instead go for promotion. I believe we’re very close to that given the people we have.


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“Ultimately, the club will move at a particular speed, as will the players. With the players, it may happen quickly.

“A centre-forward, for example, or a wide player could be at your club, score ten goals and all of a sudden they’re in demand and have the opportunity to move much quicker than the club can – because we have to move by seasons and players can move by windows, if that makes sense.”

If Sunderland does have to sell a star player or two, Speakman appears to have no problem with that.

The club has made no secret of its developing model, which includes selling to reinvest.

“I don’t see any issue with trading being part of being successful, I think everyone is doing that,” he went on to say.

“Ultimately, we’ll just try to make the right decision by the club every time those key questions come up.”

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