Santiago Vergini and Marcos Alonso look set to be SAFC's first summer signings as permanent deals are on the horizon – whilst Craig Gardner and Seb Larsson's futures are now clearer.
Regarding Vergini, one of two loan deals last season to come with an option to buy (Ondrej Celustka being the other), Gus Poyet has been quoted expressing his admiration of the player;
"Vergini pleases me a lot for different reasons. Firstly because I brought him here and I know him both as a player and as a person and know how important it was for him to succeed in England."
It represents quite a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for the Argentine at the SoL, I'm sure we all remember his first handful of games where his performances were like some awful concoction of Nyron Nosworthy and thoroughly cooked noodles. Since being switched to right back, in a less exposed position, he has come into his own.
At just 25 years of age, the Argentine should also improve as he gains more experience and confidence in the English game. I think this is a great buy and I never thought I'd say that a month or so back!
A few days ago there were plenty of reports surrounding Marcos Alonso and a swap-plus-cash deal for the disappointing Mobido Diakite. Alonso is currently on the books with Fiorentina where Diakite spent the second half of last term on loan and the Italian outfit are reportedly keen on the deal, for whatever reason.
This would be a superb swap for Sunderland, getting the relatively high-earning Diakite off the books to start with and bringing in a player who was a big part of nearly everything that was good last year.
Alonso wouldn't come without his flaws, the lack of pace and evident defensive naivety makes having an experienced centre back behind him essential to cover. We have that, at the moment, with Wes Brown - but whether he has another season left in the tank is debatable.
Craig Gardner's Sunderland career is over, joining Carlos Cuellar and Andrea Dossena (thank god that's over). The £6m (?!) signing from Birmingham City won't be offered a new contract and will be looking for a new club.
I can't say this is particularly surprising or distressing; Gardner's time on Wearside hasn't been much of a success as we've witnessed far more poor performances than good ones – such as the embarrassing 6-1 demolition by Aston Villa. Though he is the consummate professional, so I hope it works out for him.
Gardner’s future isn’t the only one to have some light shed on it today, but Sebastian Larsson looks like he has earned himself the offer of a new deal on Wearside. Undoubtedly, the Swede splits the Sunderland fans but for me I think it’s a good move.
What must be considered is how small our squad is and the unlikelihood that we are going to get copious amounts of coin to fill the gaping holes caused by contracts expiring and loan deals ending. Larsson proved towards the end of last term that he has a lot to offer the side so securing him on a two or three year deal would be a shrewd move meaning we can use funds elsewhere. Whether he wants to sign another deal is up in the air though.
I’d say all four of these reports are good news for us if they all come to fruition. There is lots to talk about already for next season and no doubt there will be a lot more between now and August. Exciting (worrying) times! We'll try and keep you updated a day or two at a time...if we can keep up...