We will know soon whether David Moyes is to stay on for the massive job of reviving Sunderland after his wretched season in charge. If he goes, we would need swift, decisive action on a replacement to avoid the problems caused last summer by the FA’s dithering over Big Sam and England. Here, a guest writer weighs up the options …
Sunderland’s 10-year stay in the Premier League came to an end on Saturday with Josh King’s late Bournemouth winner putting the final nail in the coffin of the club’s top flight status. For the first time in his managerial career, David Moyes now has a relegation to mar his CV.
It was never going to be a comfortable ride for Moyes and Sunderland, Sam Allardyce’s departure rocked the club and the Wearsiders’ mounting debt left Moyes with a tight transfer budget. But what funds were available to him, he spent terribly.
The Scot brought 13 new faces to the Stadium of Light, the majority of them players he had managed before including Adnan Januzaj on loan with fellow Manchester United colleagues Paddy McNair and Donald Love joining him for a combined fee of £5.5m.
Everton old boys Victor Anichebe, Joleon Lescott and Steve Pienaar each arrived on a free before Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo joined them in the January transfer window for a total of £7.5m. Loanees Jason Denayer and Javier Manquillo arrived in the summer along with goalkeeper Mika, club record signing Didier Ndong for £14m and centre-back Papy Djiliobodji for £8m.
Moyes’s defensive recruits did nothing to stabilise an already lacklustre back line with Sunderland conceding a staggering 60 league goals this term. The failure to recruit another striker alongside Anichebe, who has spent a large part of this season injured, also damaged the club’s prospects of survival. Astonishingly, Jermain Defoe has scored 14 of Sunderland’s 26 goals this season and the lack of attacking prowess at the Stadium of Light has cost Moyes dearly.
If a poor summer transfer window wasn’t enough to dismay already disheartened Sunderland fans, Moyes telling them to settle for a relegation battle just two games into the season really did him no favours. Such negativity served only to contribute to both the decline of Moyes and Sunderland. The club’s opening 10 games passed without a win, setting an unwanted Premier League record, and this shocking start foreshadowed the misery that was about to come.
However, although Moyes has taken Sunderland down, owner Ellis Short is supposedly seeking stability and may believe the way to achieve it is to stick with his 54-year-old manager. Sunderland have, after all, had nine managers during their decade in the Premier League.
Short, Moyes and chief executive Martin Bain are set to meet this week in order to discuss the future of the club and plans for rebuilding. A massive squad overhaul is on the horizon with Defoe, Fabio Borini, Jordan Pickford and Lamine Kone each attracting attention.
Though at 2/1, Moyes remains the favourite for the next Premier League managerial casualty. If these odds appeal to you, sites like Free Super Tips which offer a comprehensive selection of betting offers may be of use.
But if the Scot is to depart the question remains: who can replace him?
Leeds’s failure to make the play-offs may just prove costly to Garry Monk’s career at Elland Road and if the former Swansea manager was to leave, perhaps Sunderland should target him.
The 38-year-old chalked a respectably eighth place finish with the Swans and boasts a modest win percentage of 48 per cent with Leeds. He spent well in the transfer window managing to turn around a tumulus side and could well do the same if given a chance with Sunderland.
Should Fulham fail to clinch promotion, Slaviša Jokanovic should also be considered. The Serbian undoubtedly has the Cottagers playing some of the best football in the Championship and previoiusly achieved promotion with Watford.
Jokanovic narrowly avoided relegation to League One during his first season with Fulham and is well on course meet his target of a top six finish. And with the likes of Ryan Sessegnon playing exceptionally well, Jokanovic may be the man to get the best of Sunderland’s highly rated youngsters such as Joel Asoro.