Aiden O'Brien situation explained after Doncaster move collapsed as Kristjaan Speakman discusses Sunderland's summer signings

Aiden O’Brien wasn’t desperate to leave Sunderland on transfer deadline day and remains a valuable member of the squad, according to the Black Cats’ Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman.

O’Brien was set to join Doncaster on loan in the final hour of the window, yet the paperwork wasn’t completed in time.

The forward signed for Sunderland last summer and made 40 appearances for the Black Cats during the 2020/21 campaign.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Yet despite scoring a hat-trick at Blackpool in the Carabao Cup, O’Brien is yet to start a league game for Lee Johnson’s side this season, meaning he was keen to gain more regular game time.

Aiden O’Brien playing for Sunderland.Aiden O’Brien playing for Sunderland.
Aiden O’Brien playing for Sunderland.

"I don't think Aiden was desperate to get away,” Speakman told the SAFC Unfiltered Podcast.

"He is someone who has played a lot of minutes for us since I've been here and Lee has been head coach, and he is a valuable member of the group.

"In fairness to Aiden, he is not someone who wants to sit around when he is not playing and at the moment he had as many minutes as he would have wanted.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"It's up to him to work his way into the team, but it's also on us to manage him.

"Aiden was presented with an opportunity for a loan which he wanted to take, but unfortunately we couldn't get that through administration-wise before the deadline."

“Unfortunately when these things happen in the final minutes and hours of the transfer window and you’ve got several different things occuring, that’s when the risk factor gets increased and the deal doesn’t get done.

“Aiden is a player who can achieve a lot of minutes in the team and a week before he scored a hat-trick and showed everything he can do.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“We are really fortunate we’ve got someone like Aiden in the squad.”

Sunderland signed nine new players in January and Speakman says he’s happy with the business the club conducted.

Asked if he wanted to sign more players, Speakman replied: "Not necessarily.

"We were looking to streamline the squad and we were looking for quality over quantity, and we were looking for players who all have the ability to get in the team and play.

"I think we have a nice balance and a nice mix.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"As the games progress and you win, lose, or draw, those games, everybody will be in a position to cast a judgement on how good the transfer window has been, and how good the squad is.

"We've already started the process of looking ahead to the January window, we've begun that this week.

"At the moment everyone is comfortable, but it doesn't mean we will still be comfortable in December - there will be injuries, suspensions, and the natural things that happen within our industry, and we will do everything we can to get ready for next time, but we will do it in a calm and patient manner.

"I think we are in a really good place at the minute.”

"We have acquired the players we wanted to acquire, the team is where we want it to be at the top end of the table, and the style and the philosophy of the team is evident to anyone who has come into the Stadium of Light."

A message from the Football Clubs Editor

Our aim is to provide you with the best, most up-to-date and most informative Sunderland AFC coverage 365 days a year.

This depth of coverage costs, so to help us maintain the high-quality reporting that you are used to, please consider taking out a subscription to our new sports-only package here.

Your support is much appreciated. Richard Mennear, Football Clubs Editor