Jack Ross opens up on Sunderland's budget, recruitment plans, squad overhaul and player sales
Jack Ross isn't focused on the size of Sunderland's budget as he begins work on a '˜high turnover' of players this summer.
Stewart Donald promised his new manager a ‘hefty’ budget by League One standards when the takeover was confirmed.
Ross is the man to lead the Sunderland revival and it has been a whirlwind few days for the Scot, who returned from holiday late Tuesday to then be presented to the media yesterday.
With the hard work set to start today, Ross insists it isn’t about the size of the budget but what he does with it that matters, with the former St Mirren boss in control of recruitment.
Pressed on how much money he has to spend, a cautious Ross said: “The thing is for me and you might not believe this that in any job I’ve taken on I’ve never really been concerned about budgets. It doesn’t really bother me.
“The challenge for me is to find players that can make the club better. If I can get them great, if I can’t I’ll get another one.
“You might think that’s just a soundbite, trust me any chairman that I’ve ever worked for will tell you I never ask, it doesn’t really bother me.
“My job is to get the best out of what I’ve got available, either when I take the job on with what I can bring to the club.
“Ultimately if you do well and that rolls on, you’ll be able to bring better players.”
He added: “You can probably look quite easily around the country and other countries to see that big budgets don’t always guarantee success. The identification of the player within the right budget is key. Recruitment is so vital.”
When asked about his recruitment plans, shaping the squad and moving on players, Ross said: “I think that job will start from today in earnest.
“That’s when the proper discussions will start, about how we shape the squad.
“We’ve got to make sure it’s ready from the first day of pre-season. It would be remiss to say who that would involve, what salaries they would involve and what positions they would be playing.
“The make-up of that could change over the coming weeks. It’s about trying to identify what we need to get out of this league and then make sure we have the right components within that.
“That could mean players who are already at the club, it could mean players we need to recruit, but those discussions and that assessment will probably have to wait until today.
“It’s been a pretty whirlwind five or six days to get in and start the job properly.”
One thing is for sure Sunderland have a host of high-earners on their books that the club will have to look to move on, the likes of Lamine Kone, Didier Ndong, Lee Cattermole and Wahbi Khazri.
Ross was unwilling to discuss individuals at this stage but admits there is likely to be a huge turnover in players this summer as Sunderland look to bounce back from successive relegations.
“The in depth discussions haven’t yet been had,” said Ross when asked if players had to be sold.
“We understand as a club that we have assets because there are good players here.
“They’ve had a couple of difficult seasons but there are still good individual players who will naturally be of interest to other clubs. Then those players have to assess if that’s better for them moving forward than being part of this progression at Sunderland. Those questions will be answered over the coming days.
“Once the holes in the squad become clear, the process of bringing players in to fill the holes will become clearer as well.
“I’ve got a lot of work to do on that in a short period of time but there’s still enough time for us to hopefully get that right.
“If I’m being fairly pragmatic I’d imagine there will be a high turnover of players here.
“That’s realistically probably going to be the case but it can change over the coming weeks that number could change and we could end up with more or less depending on the circumstances.
“A high turnover of players is something I’ve had before, in my first window at St Mirren I had 10 players in and 10 out so there have been circumstances where I’ve had to deal with that during a season.
“That’s more challenging than dealing with it in pre-season.
“If you’re going to have that level of turnover it’s probably better to have it now than in January.”