David Jones: Sunderland must break bank to sign Charlie Austin for £15m

Connor Wickham.
Connor Wickham.
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Sunderland have had a good week in the transfer market.

Just as we were starting to get twitchy about the absence of new arrivals, Younes Kaboul and Jeremain Lens were snapped up to strengthen the defence and attack.

Charlie Austin

Charlie Austin

Kaboul is a proven Premier League performer, powerful, muscular and at 29, a good age for a centre half who should be reaching his peak now in terms of his ability to read the game in front of him.

He had enough about him at White Hart Lane to be appointed Tottenham’s club captain, although it’s true he was pretty much discarded by Mauricio Pochettino last season.

These things can happen in football, just ask Phil Bardsley and Lee Cattermole.

But if Kaboul can recapture the form of two years ago, he can emerge as Sunderland’s new defensive leader, and at that price he is certainly a gamble worth taking.

He practically carried Rangers last season single-handedly. He’s a fantastic character, totally committed trainer and a natural born goalscorer.

I know rather less about Lens beyond the fact he sounds exactly the kind of player we were short of last season: pacy, direct, and presumably a shoe-in to fill the gap on the left side of an attacking three.

For now, we can put to one side any concerns about the age of these two latest recruits.

Some clubs will only consider signing players under the age of 25 who will have a considerable sell on value; that’s good business, but it doesn’t always make football sense.

This transfer window has always been about improving the team now, not in five years or even three.

We all know Sunderland have been desperately short of quality and these additions are a big step in the right direction.

But the spending mustn’t stop there: the attack needs a total overhaul, and I still feel the team is short of at least one, if not two class players in central midfield.

Attack first.

In this 4-3-3 formation we assume Dick Advocaat will pursue, who is the one striker who will be strong with his back to goal, yet ruthless when the chances do present themselves?

Hopefully Connor Wickham one day, but right now I’m not convinced that player is at the club.

I would go all guns blazing for Charlie Austin, even at the £15m apparently being quoted by QPR.

He practically carried Rangers last season single-handedly. He’s a fantastic character, totally committed trainer and a natural born goalscorer.

It might sound expensive given he’s only had one season of Premier League football, but Sunderland are going to have to pay a little over the odds to get an edge over their rivals.

A wise sage once told me, in football you need to make sure your money is on the pitch; there is no point in having expensive reserves on big wages.

Can we really afford to be paying top money to Fletcher, Defoe, Graham and Wickham?

In the next week or two, as we hone in on the big kick off against Leicester, I would expect a manager of Advocaat’s experience to make it very clear to one or two on the fringes they won’t be in his plans.

Selling them of course will be easier said than done.

I hope Emanuele Giaccherini can play a big part this season and in effect he may feel like a new signing to Advocaat, but we need more in midfield.

That’s where games are won and lost in the Premier League and we saw last season that without that ability to break down even the poorest teams, it becomes a real struggle to win matches.

So hopefully there are more to come and don’t forget either that some of Sunderland’s best performers in recent seasons have been loans from other Premier League clubs.

Fabio Borini, Ki Sung-yueng and at the back end of last season Sebastian Coates have shown us how valuable these temporary recruits can be.

So often these loans are born out of the relationships between those doing the deals, so let’s hope Lee Congerton remains on good terms with his former colleagues Jose Mourinho and Brendan Rodgers.

Fingers crossed the good news keeps on coming.