In the build-up to Sunderland’s win over Bradford City, Championship rivals Middlesbrough announced the £5million signing of Darren Randolph.
Boro have spent big including the £15million record signing of Britt Assombalonga. Sunderland are shopping at the other end of the transfer market.
Free agents, loan signings and cut-price deals will be common place this summer with the bulk of Simon Grayson’s budget reserved for much-needed striking reinforcements.
Boro have spent big on a new goalkeeper but there are bargains to be had, with trialist Robbin Ruiter impressing on his first outing.
The Dutchman has been training with Sunderland following Vito Mannone’s move to Reading.
Grayson was coy whether Ruiter would be handed a contract with the Sunderland boss not rushing into handing out a deal based on one performance.
He did admit Ruiter had done himself no harm. Truth be told he couldn’t have done any better on his debut.
Ruiter played the full 90 and after a quiet opening 20 minute spell, which saw him confidently claim a routine Tony McMahon cross, his afternoon soon got far busier.
Nicky Law found space on the edge of the area before testing the trialist from distance, Ruiter down low to make the save, though he did push the ball back into a dangerous spot.
Sunderland fans were spoilt by Jordan Pickford’s distribution but Ruiter showed flashes of a huge kick himself, hoofing the ball upfield to target man James Vaughan.
He was a calming influence in his penalty area, with his imposing frame an intimidating sight in the Sunderland goal.
Ruiter hadn’t been tested much first half but twice before the break he was called on to keep the Bantams at bay, out quickly to spread himself and deny Shay McCartan.
He made a similar save moments before half-time, again showing his agility to get down low and save from Adam Chicksen after the Bradford defender sped past the flat-footed defence.
Technically, Ruiter looked sound ahead of a far busier second half as Sunderland took their foot off the gas after going in at the break with a comfortable 3-0 lead.
He could do little about the goals, McMahon sending him the wrong way from the penalty spot before trialist Jordan Gibson swept home from close range at the near post late on.
In between Ruiter was again quick off his line to make a brilliant block from Paul Taylor before a stunning point-blank save late on, again from Taylor.
A busy afternoon meant Sunderland’s defence had been breached too often but it may not have been a bad thing as it gave Ruiter the chance to shine.
Ruiter, previously linked with Dutch giants PSV Eindhoven and Ajax, is a free agent after leaving FC Utrecht.
The 6ft 5in shot-stopper arrived on Wearside aiming to prove his fitness after spending a long spell on the sidelines last season with a fractured collarbone.
Grayson is having to box clever with his transfer budget but if first impressions are anything to go by then free agent Ruiter could be a very shrewd piece of business.