Tony Pulis features heavily in Sunderland's Deadline Day bargain buys


Face it lads and lasses, Thursday was about as exciting a transfer window will get for Sunderland under the current regime.


Despite how many false reassurances of being competitive in the transfer market, Sunderland are more preoccupied with addressing the irresponsible debt it has plunged itself into than mount a challenge to reclaim our Premier League status. How much of that is a genuine concern for the well being of the club and how much of it is making a bargain-sale more comprehensible for Ellis Short is up for debate.

Sunderland raided the Premier League for bargain buys on Transfer Deadline Day and managed to find two, with a third coming in on loan. Marc Wilson was the first to be announced, signing literally for £0 despite still being contracted to Bournemouth until summer 2018. 

The Irishman wasn't exactly highly thought of by Eddie Howe as he didn't make a single league appearance for the Cherries during his second stint at the club. A brief loan spell at West Brom saw Wilson play under Tony Pulis, the same manager he played his best football under. Wilson was a regular for Stoke under Pulis before Mark Hughes tried to shoehorn him into central midfield unsuccessfully. Wilson would fall out of favour under Hughes and fail to find regular football since. You'll notice Pulis references for all three of the players we signed yesterday.

That lack of first team football coincided with his international career going downhill. After making 20 appearances in three years he has only made one in the last two. At 30 years old, his international football hiatus could become indefinite but for a drastic upturn in his domestic career, something Wilson hopes to do on Wearside. 

For the money paid - nowt - it's hard not to be pleased with signing a seasoned Premier League defender who was integral to a defensively sound Pulis team.

Next up was the loan of Welshman Jonny Williams, a player most will probably remember from brief yet impressive cameos from the bench during Wales' excellent Euro 2016 campaign. Domestically, Williams is about to begin his sixth spell on loan at the age of 23, but with just two league goals to his name - both for Ipswich - he won't be solving Sunderland's goal scoring problems.

That said, Williams is a positive influence in midfield with a willingness to receive the ball, drive and/or pass forward. His career has been very stop start, so just how good he could be with the right conditioning remains unclear. Our lack of options in midfield means the signing makes sense, if it's not particularly exciting.

Where is the Pulis reference you ask? Well his parent club is Crystal Palace.

Finally, Sunderland's second permanent signing on Deadline Day was Callum McManaman, more infamously known for a horrendous tackle on Newcastle's Massadio Haidara. The tackle went unpunished and caused quite a stir in English football. The winger is not exactly the cleanest player you'll ever come across as you may have already guessed, with 13 yellow cards and a couple reds since 2010 in just 60 starts.

On a more positive note, McManaman was part of Wigan's FA Cup winning side - earning the Man of the Match award in the final against Manchester City. He couldn't prevent the Latics from suffering relegation after their cup glory, thanks to Sunderland, but his form for Wigan earned him a move back to the Premier League in a near £5 million deal moving to West Brom.

Similarly to our other two Deadline Day deals, McManaman found first team football scarce at the Hawthorns and signed for £0 again despite being contracted up until 2018. Guess who manages West Brom? Yep, we can have a pretty good guess as to who Grayson is canny mates with in football. 

In the end, three solid signings which are going to bulk up our tiny squad without turning us into promotion chasers. It's going to be a long season of trying to remain interested in a club that is on the market and likely to deliver mid table mediocrity in England's second tier. When the club is eventually sold, we will learn whether or not our future really does lie in the Premier League or if we are trapped in the Championship for all eternity.

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