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It’s the outs not the ins that we need to examine in Sunderland’s transfer hokey cokey

Article by Jon Guy

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So Sunderland head off to the USA on Sunday for a three game pre-season tour with Seb Coates and Adam Matthews the only new additions to Dick Advocaat’s Black Cats.

As with any pre-season Sunderland have been linked with a host of players, so due to the work of Lee Congerton but mainly down to the need for copy from some in the media and agents agitating for a move on behalf of their clients.

The two most likely additions at present look to be Nicolas Lombaerts and Jeremain Lens, but at his first press conference of the season Dick Advocaat bemoaned the fact that the moment clubs outside of the Premier League realise that a players is being courted to join a club in the top tier of English football the transfer fee increases considerably.

The boss says he expects three or four new signing before the start of the season and that he has the backing of Chairman Ellis Short.

However, the problem may not be the ability to attract players to the Stadium of Light but the ability to balance the books in terms of playing staff.

It is here however that Sunderland is suffering more than many of its peers from a torrid period of managerial change and the decisions made in recent past.

For some reason Sunderland have undergone a period where they have entered into loans deals for players with the proviso that if they play a certain number of games or our Premier league status is retained we will turn the loan into a permanent deal.

All well and good if the same head coach was at the helm but while Congerton and his team are fighting to bring in Dick’s hit list the club is also fighting to offload Ricky Alvarez and Santiago Vergini from being forced upon the club full time.

Both were brought to the club by Gus Poyet and while Vergini has been classy and clueless in almost equal measure we cannot really pass judgement on Alvarez as injury and rare selection meant we as fans really did not see enough of him.

The club have been seeking to offload Vergini back to his native Argentina but Newton Old Boys, while keen, say they cannot afford the player’s wage demands.

Same goes for Steven Fletcher who I have always liked as a player but any move north of the border to Celtic has been scuppered by his wage demands.

Therein lies a real issue. Other Poyet acquisitions such as Buckley and Bridcutt are also rumoured to be surplus to requirements but they are not attracting interest from other Premier League sides, and those who would like to offer them a home in the championship or on the continent are unwilling or unable to pay their wages.

It is the same scenario for some of the legacy players from the Di Cano era who have not been seen on Wearside for months let alone in the stadium on game days.

There has not been a specific announcement that the club needs to shift a few of these players out of the door before they can inject new blood to the squad but it stands to reason.

There has also got to be an onus on making sure any future acquisitions are right as the impending new mega Premier League TV deal is predicted to see players’ wages take another huge leap. 

I have no issue with players being paid high wages. If a club wants to pay a player six figures a week then good luck to him, few is any of us would turn it down.

However, if that is the case the ability to sell players which don’t fit will be further limited and the decision between simply sitting in the stands and taking the cash or reducing your salary for more game time may well become even more difficult.

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