April 13, 2024

Sunderland’s transfer priorities are evaluated with only eight league games remaining this season.
Sunderland has eight league games left this season, and the club will be eager to strengthen its playing roster this summer.

After a seven-match winless streak, the Black Cats’ play-off prospects have quickly faded, with lessons to be learned as they aim for promotion in 2024/25. Sunderland now have a good foundation to build on after accepting long-term contracts with numerous members of their young team, with players such as Dan Ballard, Trai Hume, and Dan Neil emerging as young leaders.

However, there has been a clear lack of experience throughout the team’s poor recent performance, with Luke O’Nien suspended and club captain Corry Evans still recovering from an ACL injury. Evans, 33, is one of a few players who will be out of contract this summer, along with Bradley Dack, 30, resulting in an even younger average age for Sunderland’s roster.

Of course, age and experience do not guarantee success; nonetheless, with the loss of older players like as Danny Batth, Lynden Gooch, and Alex Pritchard during the last year, Sunderland’s young team has appeared more ignorant than fearless in recent weeks. The club’s strategy of signing players in the beginning of their careers was successful last season, but they may need to tweak the model this summer to refind the proper balance.

While the club will review all positions, Sunderland must solve its attacking issues. Despite signing four strikers last summer, none of them have been prepared to make a sustained impact at Championship level, with Nazariy Rusyn showing the greatest promise.

With Mason Burstow poised to return to Chelsea, Sunderland will undoubtedly aim to sign at least one additional striker ahead of the new season, either permanently or on loan. The club will also need to ensure that they have players who can support whoever is leading the line in terms of goals and assists, since Amad’s departure left a conspicuous hole and raised concerns about Jack Clarke’s long-term future at the club. Abdoullah Ba and Romaine Mundle, who only joined in January, have shown flashes of ability but are still far below their aforementioned rivals.

 

Sunderland have also lacked depth in center midfield this season, relying primarily on Neil, Pierre Ekwah, and Jobe Bellingham, who has frequently played in a more forward role. In Evans’ absence, the team hasn’t found a natural replacement to play holding midfield, despite Neil’s excellent adaptation to the job. It will be intriguing to watch whether Evans is kept, with a one-year option on his contract, or if the team makes a fresh signing this summer.

 

Tony Mowbray explains bold Aji Alese tactical tweak that helped Sunderland  beat Reading - Sports Illustrated Sunderland Nation

 

Sunderland will hope Aji Alese and Dennis Cirkin can regain their health after injury-plagued seasons, increasing the club’s options at full-back and centre-back. Jenson Seelt’s knee injury may necessitate additional coverage in the centre of defence, depending on when the Dutchman returns.

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