Is lack of inspiring transfer activity a real concern?

From Jake's Revolution series
From Jake’s Revolution series


The older you get, the less bothered you are if a dozen top-class signings haven’t been made by the second week of Wimbledon. Jack Butler, a new guest contributor*, helpfully fills in some of the detail of news on which Salut! Sunderland has so far had little to say: the arrival of, or reported deals for, relatively unknown names. And Jack sees reason for concern that others among the Premier League non-elite gave been more active as buyers …



It appeared this week that Paulo Di Canio
had to sell before he could buy as Sunderland fans witnessed the first major exit of the summer with the departure of Simon Mignolet to Liverpool.

The £9m sale is a pretty good deal for a goalkeeper who, although proving himself over the past couple of seasons, isn’t yet the finished article. If Liverpool think they’ve got a keeper to outclass Pepe Reina, they’ve another think coming – Mignolet is better than the Spaniard but not staggeringly so.

Mignolet was the first sale of the summer and, according to the online football betting news, the boss is about to lose Stéphane Sessegnon and Lee Cattermole very soon. The pair should generate a decent transfer kitty for Di Canio but there is still disappointment that we have not begun buying sooner.

Just look at our rivals and it is clear to see we have a long summer ahead if we want to strengthen this squad adequately. Aston Villa have moved quickly to boost their defensive ranks, signing the young Danish international Jores Okore while Paul Lambert further plundered the Superliga by agreeing a £2m deal for the striker Nicklas Helenius.

Villa have spent £13.5m already this summer, Fulham bought the Dutch international goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg for just £4.75m, Norwich netted a striker early on and even Southampton have begun splashing this cash. We, meanwhile, have brought in a handful of free transfers and spent £1.5m on Gothenburg’s Moberg Karlsson – hardly a landmark signing.

This is not a call to bankrupt the club in a mass spending spree like QPR or Portsmouth but surely it’s time for us to dabble more forcefully in the market.

Fans who bet on football know speculating to accumulate is a must in the Premier League and, if Di Canio is to get this team anywhere next season, he needs to strengthen the forward line, which remains a real concern. Were it not for Sessegnon and Steven Fletcher we would hardly have scored at all last term. Danny Graham’s £5m arrival from Swansea didn’t help much, the man to solve our offensive woes netting a princely no goals in 13 appearances.

While we dally – evidently waiting to sell before we buy – Cardiff signed another Danish star, Andreas Cornelius, for around £7m completely out of the blue.

Now, unless Di Canio has some targets kept secret from us all, it is difficult to see who we’re going to buy, now the early talent has been snapped up. According to reports, we’ve confirmed a fee for the Le Havre left back, Benjamin Mendy, an 18-year-old French U19 star with bags of potential. He’ll cost around £5m – if we beat Arsenal to the quick – and it would be a move in the right direction. But many supporters agree we need some bigger names in the ranks.

Scott Parker has been linked but the Londoner has made one career move out of the capital – for a pretty disappointing two-year spell at Newcastle. He’s on his last legs and Spurs want rid, so it wouldn’t be the best acquisition we’d ever made.

No, Di Canio needs to buy a player whose parent club does not want to offload. That’s the mark of a decent arrival to boost the team. Celtic’s Fraser Forster would be a perfect replacement for Mignolet, while his teammate, Gary Hooper, is set to reject Hull City’s advances. Why aren’t we in for Hooper? He’s a magnificent striker, works harder than his talent allows and would play well off Graham and around Fletcher.

But no, the 25-year-old will probably pass us by too. This summer’s available talent is being snapped up fast and we’re facing a difficult few months if Di Canio isn’t allowed to spend now. The building blocks of a solid Premier League campaign begin in preseason and, while we have the foundations, the real work is yet to get off the ground.

* This is a sponsored posting which has been approved because it discusses genuine issues on the minds of SAFC supporters. Jack Butler writes on behalf of the bet365 UK News site but points out he has been an avid Sunderland fan since the day his dad first took him to see the team in 1992, the year we last reached the FA Cup final. He has held a season ticket for the past three years. Whisper it but his favourite player in the current squad is James McClean.

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21 thoughts on “Is lack of inspiring transfer activity a real concern?”

  1. The posting may not have reached the heights of wit and wisdom for which which Salut! Sunderland is, of course, so well known.

    But with most regular writers apparently on strike, it not only filled a hole but has stimulated a reasonable debate that goes beyond a simple discussion of the article’s shortcomings. I stick to what I said earlier but feel this establishes its raison d’etre. And no need to remind me of the Mandy Rice Davies line …

  2. Decent signings so far in my view ,though I claim no prior knowledge of them , only what I’ve read since.Huddlestone seems to be a potentialy great signing for us if he agrees terms and passes the medical of all medical s.Mannone will presumably be back up to Westwood and won’t cost much , this will be a false economy of course if he’s not up to the job but the management team obviously rate him and maybe we just have to trust them. Very, very early days, if this article was posted on August 17 th then it would be valid but as it stands ” Don’t panic Captain Mainwaring!”

  3. Think Phil’s comment about ‘bedwetting’ more than adequately sums up this article, where is Michael Winner when you need him….Calm Down Dear,,,,

    What we have seen come in is encouraging, displaying a shift in strategy to address playing staff at all levels of the Club. What has gone out, one regrettable, but several other ‘Thank God’ he’s gone, still a few more to go though.

    If we are seriously trying to get a quarter of what the Press are linking us with then it will be a very interesting season. We are sailing into unchartered waters but the talent scouts at our disposable are displaying a refreshing approach to team building, lets see where it takes us.

  4. Meant to add Malcolm. Getting rid of that buffoon (Elmo) is most certainly the best bit of transfer activity so far this summer. Said exactly the same as you on blackcats in fact. He has hung around like a noxious whiff in a badly ventilated bathroom. Thank goodness he’s gone. He kept turning up though like a drunken, divorced uncle at a family wedding for far longer than he was actually married.
    Complete crap. Good riddance to him.

  5. Does the author have any response to the comments his article has garnered. There are quite a few here. More than the average in fact.

    • I think that if it was not intended as a “wind up”, possibly by one of our black and white brethren, then the author will be far too embarrassed to ever post anything on here again!

      If he is not, he should be!

  6. What no mention of the best bit of transfer activity so far –
    £2 million for Elmo.

    Hull fans are about to find out all about Steve Bruce and his approach to life in the top tier. I wonder what his excuse will be when he gets the chop – prefers pasties to fish…. not a Yorkshire man etc.?

    I am still reserving my judgement on our own new faces until I’ve seen them in the red and white.

  7. Probably won’t happen again though you shd think of it like the BBC: hate the reality shows, quite like Panorama or Newsnight

  8. Well to be honest I’m pretty chuffed with the acquisition’s so far. Its all pointing to a very ballsy move that we’ve been crying out for for years!
    We may not know much about these players but some top scouts obviously do (most have been linked with top clubs)! So that’s good enough for me. I just hope we hit the ground running.
    As for Huddleston and mannone. I’ll be happy with huddle stone and think he’ll be a good buy but mannone?? Arsenal haven’t had a decent keeper since Lehman and this kids 3rd choice!!!
    But no matter what I’ll be shouting and cheering for each and everyone who adorns our glorious colours

  9. I’ve just come out of lurker mode (if there’s such a thing on Salut). I tend to read a lot more than comment. That’s just me.

    Sorry to be so negative, but this is just terrible, badly thought out drivel. You are doing yourself no favours publishing complete rubbish such as this on a site which produces amusing and thoughtful stuff so regularly.

  10. I had a choice. Use the article or not. It is quiet, we haven’t done much on the transfer activity (Mig apart) so I chose yes. My own disagreement with the conclusions must be abundantly clear,

    • OK, fair enough Salut. This author, under the psuedonym of Jack Butler, is known for his amusing take on reality. He rarely writes under his real name of Nobby McNob.

  11. Responses, wind, sails. Plenty of time to go in this window, when without doubt we’re far better off trying look for promising investments than giving clowns and dinosaurs free reign to repeat past mistakes. Carry on Paolo!

  12. So, the author’s favourite player is James McClean!! Well Jack, if that alone doesn’t discredit your article, nothing will. Nuff said!

    • If he’s honest with himself even McClean wouldn’t rate McClean as the best player at the club. Unless its not he’s ability that makes him the authors favourite player ,but .he’s hilarious and insightful contrbutions to the twittersphere.

  13. This article is the equivalent of writing a match report after 20 minutes. We’ve been busier in the transfer market than anybody,

    The heading belong’s to Salut and not the author but it’s a “Have you stopped beating your grandmother yet” type question. It’s loaded and suggests that there is some unanimity that signings have been uninspiring. To that end it adequately represents the article which in which I find it difficult to agree with anything other than the obvious statement that we need sign a couple of proven players at this level.

    PDC probably thinks that Roberge, Cabral and Diakite are ready for first team action. For my money the sorts of signings that we have made so far are highly inspiring and imaginative and in stark contrast to our customary (and failed) approach to player recruitment. The references to Aston Villa as an example is a very poor choice. If you are selecting an example then take one from the normal distribution and not some atypical and hence outlying and therefore unrepresentative variable.

    Given the abject procession of dross that the academy has been churning out for years the arrivals of Mendy, Ba, Karlsson etc again show huge imagination to fill a real void. I’m delighted to see this sort of innovation. We could of course keep on signing players from relegated clubs and carry on failing for the next 50 years. Some of us are running out of both time and patience for that.

    For me Huddlestone is precisely the sort of player we need and that PDC needs to sign now.

    • The term used on RTG to describe an article such as this would be “bedwetting”!

      Also, since when has the word “offensive” replaced “attacking”, on this side of the Atlantic?

  14. Hooper would cost a fortune and is unproven at this level. Been down this route. I find it hard to agree with this.

  15. While PDC was signing players that I do not know I was prepared to give him the benefit of doubt and wait and see how good they are. However the news that we are in for Huddlestone and Mannone, neither of whom I rate, has left me concerned. If his other signings are of the same calibre then we are in trouble. If Huddlestone and Mannone were any good, Spurs and Arsenal would not be letting them go.

    • Huddlestone has a range of passing and presence we haven’t witnessed here in years. The debate is whether he’s the energetic midfielder Di Canio appears to crave. Hopefullky he’ll embrace the demands set on him.

      4/5 million is a snip. Gardner cost more. Cattermole cost more. Graham cost more.

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