Since my last Shoot blog, a lot has changed at Sunderland and with just a day to go until the start of the new Premier League campaign, there are mixed emotions on Wearside. Hopefully Sunderland can have a comfortable campaign where our players aren’t making headlines for the wrong reasons and one where we aren’t battling relegation for 37 of the 38 games.
David Moyes holds the reins at Sunderland now after Sam Allardyce left to take over the national side. It was just our luck that a manager we had such high hopes for and really felt would lead us away from relegation, left to take charge of England. To be fair to the club, the manner in which the FA went about appointing Allardyce was disgraceful and has left us way behind other Premier League clubs, in terms of transfers especially.
Now we have David Moyes who in all fairness isn’t a disastrous replacement, but it is his time at Manchester United that will be questioned the most and not his extremely successful spell at Everton. It’s really hard to get excited about Sunderland these days and I hope Moyes realises how poor we actually can be. This is why it’s worrying that we have only made three signings, two of which (Paddy McNair and Donald Love) aren’t believed to be first-team regulars.
Our first signing of the window, Papy Djilobodji, arrived from Chelsea for around £8 million and looks to be Lamine Kone’s replacement as reports say the club has accepted an £18 million bid from Everton. This is what frustrates me about Sunderland, the constant willingness to sell our best players. Yes we’ll have made a profit but Kone was outstanding from the moment he put on the shirt and to sell him so soon would be an absolute travesty. In fairness to the defender, if you were told if the team stay in the Premier League you’d get a new contract, you’d have every right to want to leave when one isn’t offered. This is all just speculation of course, but if our chairman Ellis Short’s past is anything to go by, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was true. We literally have the tightest chairman in the world.
I realised the other day after watching previous Premier League campaign highlights that you should never get excited about a season as a Black Cats supporter. It will more than likely be a hard fought one, where we battle relegation all season. However, I’m hoping Moyes can be the one to get it right, but I won’t be getting ahead of myself. I’m sure once I board the train to head to the Etihad on Saturday my opinion will change again and I’ll think we are heading for Europe!
I still think a few new signings are needed. For once we have a midfielder that is arguably too good for us yet wants to sign for us in Yann M’Vila, and the club should be going all out to sign him, but it doesn’t look like we are. Our midfield is weak in terms of depth and the addition of M’Vila and another would be a welcome one. We have also been linked with Adnan Januzaj, who was introduced to the Premier League by Moyes, and he could really get his career back on track at a club like ours.
The right-back position still needs addressing and quickly as Billy Jones is currently our first choice and he is quite frankly awful, in my opinion. Donald Love is arguably too inexperienced; therefore we need to get someone else in. We could also do with another striker. Jermain Defoe will once again be the key to Sunderland having a good season, but if he gets injured that leaves us with just Fabio Borini. Youngster Joel Asoro has impressed during pre-season but it is maybe too early to throw him into the Premier League, especially as a lone striker.
I want to be hopeful for this season, I really do, but from past experience I will only be bitterly disappointed. All I and every other Sunderland fan wants is a comfortable season in the Premier League where we aren’t fighting relegation for the vast majority of it. Is that too much to ask?