Five priorities facing new Sunderland manager ahead of Premier League campaign

David Moyes.
David Moyes.
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With Sam Allardyce named England boss, Sunderland are set to turn to David Moyes to fill his sizeable shoes in the Stadium of Light dugout.

And the former Everton, Manchester United and Real Sociedad boss will have to be ready to hit the ground running with the Premier League season just three weeks away.

Moyes will have the biggest ‘to-do’ list of all the top flight managers as a result of the state of limbo the club has found itself in due to the FA’s protracted pursuit of Allardyce.

But what are the new manager’s main priorities?

Transfers, transfers, transfers:

You only have to take one look at the team sheet from the friendly win over Hartlepool United to realise the number one priority. New signings.

Allardyce named his strongest available XI with Jan Kirchhoff rested alongside John O’Shea and Seb Larsson.

Sunderland only had three experienced players missing yet the only player on the bench over the age of 22 was trialist Charles N’Zogbia.

Duncan Watmore and Jordan Pickford will be involved in the first team this season but the rest of the bench was made up of Under-21 players.

The lack of squad depth is a major concern with just three weeks before Sunderland face Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City.

A new striker, right-back and midfield reinforcements are key.

Meanwhile, Charles N’Zogbia’s chances of landing a permanent deal in the wake of Allardyce’s departure appear over.

Assess the future of the unwanted fringe players:

Notable absentees from the Sunderland squad against Pools were experienced quintet Adam Matthews, Liam Bridcutt, Jordi Gomez, Will Buckley and Charis Mavrias.

They had all featured in the Under-21’s 2-0 defeat to Darlington the night before, but were not included in Allardyce’s last squad.

He didn’t see their futures at the Stadium of Light and Moyes will have to make a quick assessment as to whether he does either.

If not, then alongside new chief executive Martin Bain, the new manager will have to look to ship out the deadwood quickly in order to boost the transfer coffers.

Complete a deal for Yann M’Vila:

This transfer saga has rumbled on all summer but M’Vila’s chances of a return to Sunderland may actually be boosted by the appointment of Moyes.

Moyes is a big fan of M’Vila, having previously tried to sign the midfielder in January 2013 back when he was Everton boss.

Everton and QPR were battling for the then-Rennes midfielder’s signature before he eventually signed for Rubin Kazan.

As revealed by the Echo, Sunderland’s bid to re-sign M’Vila took a fresh twist after the midfielder returned to his native France earlier this week.

M’Vila’s return doesn’t hinge on the future of Allardyce though and Moyes’ arrival could speed up the process.

French training camp a pivotal week to hone tactics and selection:

Pre-season is a busy enough period at the best of times, never mind when you’ve had to change your manager less than a month before the new campaign.

Therefore, next week’s training camp in France – which will include friendly games against FC Stade Nyonnais, Dijon FCO and Montpellier HSC – is a HUGE week.

Firstly, a chance to build on the impressive fitness levels witnessed against Pools – one of Allardyce’s main priorities when he arrived was to improve the squad’s fitness.

But Moyes won’t have long to assess his players and to decide whether to stick or twist with the 4-1-4-1/4-3-3 system favoured by Allardyce.

Team selection too will be at the forefront of the new manager’s mind.

Options are limited at the moment but one key decision is who starts in goal as number one – Vito Mannone or Jordan Pickford?

Tie Jan Kirchhoff down to a new deal:

The £750,000 January signing was a key figure in the club’s dramatic survival last season after arriving on an 18-month deal from Bayern Munich.

He was rested as a precaution for the 3-0 friendly win over Hartlepool United but is expected to be involved against Rotherham today.

Kirchhoff’s form didn’t go unnoticed elsewhere in the Premier League and while concerns remain over his ability to complete 90 minutes week in, week out, he is a key figure.

Alongside bringing in up to five new signings, Moyes must also look to secure Kirchhoff on a longer-term deal.