Lee Johnson explains slow start to summer recruitment as Sunderland prepare to make first additions

Lee Johnson says the financial impact of COVID-19 led to 'stagnation' of the transfer market this summer, with Sunderland hopeful of making at least one breakthrough in the near future.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 6:00 am

The Black Cats still have a threadbare squad in some positions, despite Aiden McGeady and Luke O'Nien's welcome decision to sign new deals over the last week.

Johnson said before the 2-2 draw with Spennymoor Town that the club could make two additions this week, and deals are understood to be close.

Attacking midfielder Alex Pritchard is one of the players who has been on Wearside for advanced negotiations following his departure from Huddersfield Town.

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Alex Pritchard has even in talks over a mov to Sunderland this week

Sunderland expect to get the ball rolling on their summer recruitment soon, and Johnson also explained some of the factors that had led to their low start in rebuilding the squad for the new campaign.

"At the moment, a lot of clubs are internally assessing where they stand in terms of their long-term future off the back of COVID-19," he said.

"A lot of clubs are under soft embargoes, have taken out loans that have to be paid back.

"That's stagnated the market a bit, because you can't really do one in, one out.

"I've mentioned about agents who have been unrealistic, free agents are sort of seen as their golden goose and actually that's not true because the first thing clubs want to save is on agent fees.

"Of course as a coach the perfect scenario is that on July 1st you've got your squadand you have to get them ready, bond them.

"Unfortunately we haven't got that luxury so we've got to be super smart in the work that we do, we've got to be frugal in stretching our budget, and we've got to make good decisions.

"That includes on a player's character and we've gone into such depth in our work on that."

The Black Cats also remain in talks with Denver Hume, who they are hoping will sign a new contract to extend his stay on Wearside.

Charlie Wyke earlier this week joined Wigan Athletic after his talks with the club over a new deal were unsuccessful.

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