Meet the Sunderland AFC transfer team set for a busy summer as window opens and deals eyed

Sunderland are set for a busy summer in the transfer market – but who are the team leading the club’s recruitment drive?

Wednesday, 9th June 2021, 12:30 pm

With seven players having been released from the Stadium of Light at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, and further departures possible, the Black Cats are in the hunt for a number of new faces.

And with a new recruitment structure now in place, it’s set to be a collaborative effort from the club’s transfer team this summer.

So who will be involved in the process? We take a look:

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Meet the Sunderland AFC transfer team set for a busy summer as rebuild continues ahead of League One season

KRISTJAAN SPEAKMAN

The former Birmingham City man has helped in building a game model and positional profiles for the club, which will identify the type of players and qualities that Sunderland will be looking for this summer.

And when describing his role in the recruitment process in a recent interview, it’s clear that Speakman will have a big part to play.

“Ultimately, it has to fit a financial model and it has to fit the needs of the squad composition,” he said.

"That's where I'm responsible in terms of making sure the squad composition is correct, it fits in with the succession planning, and it meets the financial elements of either the budget or the long-term planning.”

STUART HARVEY

Recently appointed as the club’s head of recruitment, Harvey will naturally be a key cog in the summer transfer window.

Formerly of Blackburn Rovers, he will be tasked with helping to identify potential recruits for the club who fit the playing style and positional profiles assembled by the club’s footballing team.

In a December 2020 interview – prior to Harvey’s appointment – Speakman said that the head of recruitment would ‘manage the recruitment process, around capturing the information and football intelligence within the market place’.

Harvey, therefore, will play a key role in assembling lists of potential targets before working alongside other within the club to whittle that number down.

JAMES YOUNG

And one of the key people Harvey will work alongside is Young – the club’s head of data and analytics.

In his recent appearance on the #SAFCUnfiltered podcast, Speakman said that the club were keen to use data to ‘analyse the detail around whatever the numbers are to help us evaluate whether something is good or bad.’

In a recruitment sense, Young will be able to help benchmark players based on the data and estimate the chances of them proving a good fit into Sunderland’s system and positional profiles.

LEE JOHNSON

Flash back a few years and the manager or head coach of a team was generally solely responsible for player recruitment.

That is no longer the case, although Johnson will still have a part to play this summer.

His involvement comes in what Speakman has described as the ‘select and engage’ phase – essentially where the club decided which of their targets they will pursue.

Johnson’s role here is key given, as Speakman described it shortly after his appointment, ‘the first team playing squad can't contain any players in there that are not of the preference of the head coach.’

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