O’Neill – Sunderland must strike balance in transfer market

Martin O'Neill
Martin O'Neill
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MARTIN O’NEILL insists Sunderland must strike a balance in the transfer market this summer.

The Black Cats boss is keen to strengthen the squad he inherited from Steve Bruce, while he will also look to cut the club’s wage bill by moving on those surplus to requirements.

But O’Neill realises that owner Ellis Short has a duty to ensure Sunderland are not left financially crippled by their spending spree, particularly with the Fifa Fair Play regulations being introduced.

“In my conversations with him (Short), I can definitely feel his passion for the club,” said O’Neill.

“He tries to say things sometimes in an understated fashion and that’s fine, but I know that deep down he definitely cares about the football club.

“And, of course, for every reason under the sun he would want to do well.

“He bought the football club with the best intentions, he wants to try to move it forward, but it is sometimes easier said than done.

“I don’t think any of us want to fall into the trap of financial disaster.

“So it is a balancing act. It always is with Premier League teams.

“I think the supporters have a fair idea of what we need to do to try to improve our team.”

Despite Sunderland ending the season with an eight-game winless streak, O’Neill’s stock remains high after guiding the Black Cats away from the relegation zone after his appointment at the Stadium of Light.

And the former Aston Villa boss is already looking forward to his first full season in charge on Wearside.

“The supporters have been very generous to me. they have given me time – although that doesn’t mean that we haven’t been booed off the pitch a few times!” O’Neill added on the club website.

“But I think that’s a natural reaction sometimes. Most of the time, if we have (been booed), we have deserved it.

“What you can gauge from that is that they are passionate, they want to see their team do well and they want to see us competing.

“I think that they want to see players parading their skills and giving them something to cheer.

“I’m looking forward to next season, even now.

“I think we will all come back refreshed and ready for it.

“I’m hoping that we have a chance of doing something next season.

“Selfishly, I know that if we are doing all right then I have a better chance of staying here!”

Meanwhile, Sunderland have confirmed another two pre-season friendlies for the club’s second string.

Keith Bertschin’s side will travel to Northern League champions Spennymoor on Wednesday, July 25 (kick-off 7.30pm) before facing Gateshead at the International Stadium on Friday, August 3 (7.30pm).

The reserves also face friendlies at Whitby Town on Wednesday, July 18 (7pm) and at Newton Aycliffe on Friday, July 20 (7.30pm).