Exclusive: The eye-catching transfer deals Mark Campbell lined-up at Sunderland
The English businessman looked set to obtain a majority stake in the Black Cats earlier this summer, until the deal collapsed at a late stage.
And while the real estate expert had lined-up extensive investment off the field, he was also planning to fund some eye-catching signings to boost Jack Ross’ playing squad.
Key to that recruitment was going to be John Park, a former Celtic and Hibernian scout who helped uncover the likes of Virgil Van Dijk and Victor Wanyama.
And Campbell admits he would have been looking to bring a similar mould of player – those with a high resale value – to Sunderland.
“I wanted someone who had the ability to bring in players from all over the world to Sunderland to give them the platform and for us to utilise them in the future,” he said.
“If you look at the history of Sunderland’s transfer business, it’s awful. They’ve spent more money than what they’ve recouped and we had to be in a situation where that was going to change.
“That was the reason that John was there, to scout those sort of players, and we had done a very good job of that.”
Indeed, Campbell claims he and Park had already plotted deals for a number of signings – with the 46-year-old confident of bringing some big names to the Stadium of Light.
“We got to a stage where we had eight players lined-up to come into the club, all players which we believed we could put on a platform and that they would do a job for us,” he explained.
“We had spoken to a number of key players that we wanted to bring in and we were ready to go.
“There was a lot of discussion about Lawrence Shankland and that was a player that we were very keen on.
“We were considering Marcus Maddison at Peterborough and we were interested in [Joe] Aribo at Charlton, who went to Rangers.
“One of the defenders we were actually after Sunderland have now got - Jordan Willis.”