Sunderland are on the verge of adding to their squad with Jeremain Lens on Wearside – while the team are put through their paces across the Atlantic.
And while the Lens deal is set to be announced soon, he won’t be the last of Sunderland’s signings this summer.
Our SAFC man Chris Young is the only journalist following the team on their North America tour, and has exclusive insight into what’s happening around the trip.
He held a live Q&A with Echo readers this evening, and talked about transfers and who had impressed so far in the States.
Here’s some of the highlights:
Q: “Who do you think the leading centre half alternatives are now Lombaerts deal is dead?”
A: “Not thought to include Virgil van Dijk, despite Sunderland tracking him for the last year. Dick clearly has reservations over him. A lot of fans have mentioned Jonny Evans as a possibility. Personally, if he’s available, that’d be the one I’d go for.”
Q: “Do you expect safc to use the 2 domestic loans this season? and have any names been mentioned?”
A: “Expect Sunderland to spend significant money on 3 priority positions of LW, CM and CB. Loans may then come into use at end of window.”
Q: “Are we going sign 1 or 2 players from premiership?”
A: “Told they’re not just concentrating on one market. Under De Fanti, they were looking at Continental signings and last summer, was about players with PL experience. But it’s not so narrow this time around. Players who will immediately improve the starting XI is the main criteria
Q: “Assuming Lens comes for £8m or so, is that it for the big money signings do you think? Nothing else over £2-3m?”
A: “No, I think there’s still a few quid flying around. Downing and Lombaerts would have both cost £5m-plus. Downing would have been as an addition to Lens too, rather than an alternative.”
Q: “Early days but who’s been looking sharp in training over there?
A: “Steven Fletcher has been looking good in training and he was sharp during the first half last night. Was unlucky not to score just before HT with a header against the bar. Giaccherini also looking good.”
Q: “Any thoughts on the formation Dick will start with at Leicester? 4-3-3?”
A: “Dick likes his 4-3-3 and I’d expect Sunderland to play that way this season. But he needs the players for that. Plus, does Defoe really fit into that formation?”