Now the transfer window has thankfully shut for a few months, Simon Grayson can at last concentrate fully on his team without any distractions.
I’m firmly in the camp that believes the transfer window should close before the first game of the season, as we’ve already had five league games that have been totally overshadowed by a sense of uncertainty about who is staying, who is going and who is coming in.
Only now do I feel the season can really start. I know a lot of people like the system just the way it is, with all the drama that comes with it, but you’d still get the last day excitement if it happened earlier, before a ball has been kicked.
Anyway, whatever you favour, all Sunderland fans will be bothered about is where have we done good business and whether the team will improve as a result.
Three players have come in, which I felt was the bare minimum. I was hoping for a couple more with the glaring omission being the lack of a top striker, though I’m sure it wasn’t for the lack of trying.
Saying that, if I was one of the youngsters, Gooch, Maja and Asoro, I’d see the lack of another striker as a bonus, and hopefully they’ll step up to the plate as the season wears on and prove themselves.
In a marathon season, there’s sure to be injuries and they’ll get opportunities.
Khazri and Djilobodji leaving will have surprised no one, but I still can’t help feeling frustrated that Khazri, after being a key figure in Sam Allardyce’s successful relegation fight, and with a skill, talent and vision that not many in the Sunderland squad have, has barely figured since Allardyce left.
Knowing our luck he’ll probably light up the French league, and we’ll be wondering how he couldn’t get into a Championship side. It has happened so often before.
Didier Ndong and Lamine Kone staying were positives in my view.
Ndong’s energy and commitment mark him out as a key player while Kone, if focused and in the right frame of mind, should be class above other centre-backs in this division.
It is up to him now to prove it.
I know Sunderland fans will give great support to the new signings, and hope they can have the same instant impact that Khazri, Kone and Kirchhoff had when they joined, one of the few times we’ve actually enjoyed a successful transfer window.