Dick Advocaat has given Sunderland a list of recommendations for the transfer market, despite his own future hanging in the balance.
Sunderland expect to discover tomorrow whether Advocaat intends to remain as head coach, or if he will go ahead with his plans to bring the curtain down on his illustrious managerial career after keeping the Black Cats in the Premier League.
We’ve done a little bit of planning but it’s been difficult for Lee to start because of the situation.Dick Advocaat
But even if Advocaat departs and turns up the heat on sporting director Lee Congerton to find a suitable replacement, the Dutchman could have an impact on those players who arrive at the Stadium of Light this summer.
Advocaat has held discussions with Congerton during the last fortnight over potential signings and while Sunderland’s precarious position in the relegation dogfight has hampered the club’s planning, the ex-Holland boss has endorsed several suitable targets.
“We’ve done a little bit of planning but it’s been difficult for Lee to start because of the situation,” said Advocaat.
“But I’ve spoken to him about some players, yes.”
Advocaat has publicly urged Sunderland to bring in up to half-a-dozen fresh faces, with a focus on landing “quality” recruits who will immediately improve the standard of the starting XI.
It is understood that chairman Ellis Short shares that sentiment, albeit one or two of Sunderland’s captures could be loan deals.
Two centre-halves, a left winger, central midfielder and another striker will be Sunderland’s priorities, while Congerton also faces the challenge of offloading several players - both those surplus to requirements and the trio of Valentin Roberge, Charis Mavrias and El-Hadji Ba who will return to the Stadium of Light after loan spells.
But although Advocaat has made it abundantly clear that quality recruits are required, he says Sunderland don’t necessarily need to spend a fortune in the transfer market after the success of some of their Premier League peers this season on a modest budget.
“Look at Swansea and Southampton, for the last five years they’ve been an example of how you can do it with good football,” added Advocaat.
“Manchester United and company are spending £300million, which unfortunately we can’t.
“But you can still do something if you have 40,000 people coming here every 14 days and I think Mr Short knows that.”