An injection of pace & a dollop of brute force; what Sunderland still need in the transfer window

The transfer window shuts on Thursday, what do Sunderland still need to bring in to complete the squad for a promotion charge?

by Will_White Sunday, 05 August 2018 08:33 AM Comments

Add Charlie Wyke and Dylan McGeouch to the Sunderland side which beat Charlton yesterday and you'd think the squad is more or less complete. But there are probably a couple of areas which need strengthening before the transfer window shuts on Thursday.

A full back

Based on Donald Love's performance yesterday, Sunderland will probably need an additional full back regardless of whether Bryan Oviedo stays or not. Love has never convinced since signing in 2016 and he may well be one of those players we'll keep predicting has found his level only to be disappointed when he can't cut it in League One. 

Reece James is still to come into the squad, though he remains something of an unknown quantity to most of us. One thing is sure, should Oviedo depart, Sunderland will struggle rotating Love and Matthews around the two full back slots. 

Some oomph in midfield

The Sunderland squad which departed the Championship could be summed up in its very own word - "smeak". Small and weak, the assembly which were relegated from the EFL lacked height and power. League One is an unforgiving division which could yet swallow up the smaller bodies which proliferate the Black Cats midfield. 

A younger Lee Cattermole may be just what's required, but the 30-year-old is likely to be off before Thursday. 

The Sunderland squad still looks like one which is crying out for some height further back behind the strikers, and a spoiler in midfield to protect the defence. Dylan McGeouch may offer this of course but bringing in a bit of bite will be Jack Ross' priority you would think. 

Some pace in the rear guard

Based on yesterday's performance and outings in pre-season, you'd expect that Sunderland's current central defensive area could be responsible for a few goals against as the season progresses. 

Alim Öztürk and Glenn Loovens appear to combine the turning circle of an oil tanker with the pace of John O'Shea. Adam Matthews dropping in alongside them in yesterday's game at least added a touch of sprightliness but up against pacy attackers the ponderous Black Cats backline may struggle as the matches unfold.

Jack Baldwin is still to make his bow and you would expect that the ex-Peterborough captain will become a mainstay in the middle of defence but he's never been described as fast. That leaves Tom Flanagan who was out injured yesterday and the former Burton man is at least reasonably quick on his feet. 

A defensive man fleet of foot would add an element to the rear guard when up against the faster attacking lines in the division. 

A striker?

Josh Maja needed his goal yesterday and his 65th minute strike will have given the youngster some confidence as the season really gets underway. Charlie Wyke has still to come in and Jerome Sinclair looked a good addition before he went off injured on Saturday. 

Another striker before deadline day would be the cherry on the cake but with half the football league looking for a centre forward, it could prove to tricky to land another front man. It would be rather nice though.