Kone, Khazri and SAFC transfer priorities: 6 things we learned from game at Southampton

Well, Sunderland are up and running in the Premier League after battling to a hard-fought point at Southampton. But what did we learn from the game?

Sunday, 28th August 2016, 10:53 am
Updated Sunday, 28th August 2016, 12:06 pm
Lamine Kone back in the team at Southampton

The Black Cats got their first point of the season after Jermain Defoe's penalty was cancelled out late on by Jay Rodriguez's effort.

There were a number of talking points during the game, not least the promising debut by Spaniard Javier Manquillo.

Javier Manquillo

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But it will once again be Sunderland's transfer business - ins and outs - that will dominate thinking over the next few days.

Here's six things we learned from yesterday's game at St Mary's.

Sunderland must keep Kone

The big defender's return was the major talking point when the teamsheets were revealed before kick-off.

Jordan Pickford in action

Kone has been the subject of interest from Everton and is understood to still want to quit the Stadium of Light before Wednesday's transfer deadline expires.

But back in the starting XI, he showed his worth to the Black Cats, in both boxes.

His partnership with Papy Djilobodji gave Sunderland strength and pace in the middle of defence, while Kone should have opened the scoring in the first half and constantly looked a threat from set-pieces.

If David Moyes is to get Sunderland up the table, keeping Kone is key.

Javier Manquillo

New signing is top Man

Javier Manquillo could become a crowd favourite at Sunderland if his impressive debut is anything to go by.

Manquillo had barely trained with his new team-mates after his loan move from Atletico Madrid before being thrust into the starting XI at St Mary's.

Anyone who thought he might take his time to settle in, assess the pace of the Premier League and just concentrate on keeping the team shape among the back four were proved wrong within the first few minutes.

Jordan Pickford in action

The Spaniard immediately began bombing down that right-hand side, providing the width on that side which allowed Fabio Borini to tuck in closer to Jermain Defoe.In fact, Manquillo was often the furthest Sunderland player forward.

It meant defensively, at times he was caught out of position when Southampton broke, and Dusan Tadic was a threat on the left, but it's hard to imagine David Moyes could have been happier with his debut.

Pick yourself up, young man

This might sound daft, given the nature of Southampton's equaliser, but Sunderland have a great young prospect on their hands in the shape of Jordan Pickford.

Yes, he should have done better with Jay Rodriguez's shot, but up until then he had been outstanding.

With Vito Mannone out for a while, Moyes could enter the transfer market (Joe Hart, anyone?), but Pickford is the future and will only get better.

Up and running

It may not have been the win that everyone at Sunderland craved, but a point at St Mary's - where they've suffered so much heartache in the past - is not to be sniffed at.

Getting that first point under their belt, on the back of the midweek League Cup win, will do wonders for confidence.

Another defeat ahead of the international break would have been demoralising but Moyes now has two weeks before Sunderland are back in action against his old club Everton to work more with the squad and bring some players in.

Strike me, Sunderland need a forward

Speaking of the transfer window, Sunderland surely need a striker more than anyone else before Wednesday's deadline.

Jermain Defoe is a marvel - his goal meant he has netted in the last six successive away games he has played - but he needs help.

If Defoe gets injured, Sunderland will be in trouble. Fabio Borini looks incapable of leading the line in the same way, while it's way too early for Joel Asoro.

But it's not just about finding back-up to Defoe; he needs someone capable of playing alongside him.

Since the end of last season, Steven Fletcher, Danny Graham and Dame N'Doye have departed. Granted, they didn't do much when they were here but relying heavily on a 33-year-old is a risk.

Where's Wahbi?

If Wahbi Khazri is still at Sunderland on Thursday morning, it will be a surprise.

Moyes clearly doesn't rate him and once again he was left kicking his heels on the bench.

Jeremain Lens, Duncan Watmore, Lynden Gooch, Fabio Borini, Adnan Janujaz and Steven Pienaar are all ahead of him in the pecking order and he's proving to be a luxury Sunderland can't afford.