SUNDERLAND are set to complete a whirlwind 24 hours in the transfer market today with the signings of Craig Gardner and Ji Dong-won.
With the unveiling of Ipswich starlet Connor Wickham yesterday, it means the Black Cats have made three signings in the space of a day and with Keiren Westwood and Seb Larsson’s moves set to be officially rubber-stamped by the club tomorrow, five signings in 72 hours.
Gardner’s signing has happened relatively smoothly while Ji’s was complicated by the pursuit of a work permit for the South Korean.
But manager Steve Bruce will be delighted to have all five available to be part of pre-season preparations.
The squad is due to return from its summer break next week and while not all the new signings might be there from day one – Ji, for example, will have loose ends to tie up in his homeland – they will all be available over the next few weeks to work on match fitness and team spirit ahead of a new campaign.
Wickham and Ji will add height to the front-line not seen since the departure of Kenwyne Jones, Seb Larsson will provide a danger from set-pieces which has been missing since the days of Nicky Summerbee, while Gardner will offer a potential for goals from midfield which has been lacking in recent seasons.
Sunderland fans can expect more signings through the door with Sunderland still hoping to sign Manchester United trio John O’Shea, Wes Brown and Darron Gibson.
Wigan striker Charles N’Zogbia remains a key target of the summer but that is likely to take time with Sunderland having to offload players and reduce the wage bill before he genuinely comes within their reach.