Revealed: What the new League One salary cap means for Sunderland's interest in Luke Garbutt and Scott Fraser
The introduction of a League One salary cap does not spell the end of Sunderland’s interest in Luke Garbutt and Scott Fraser – with both players still featuring on Phil Parkinson’s wanted list.
There were fears from some quarters that the introduction of a £2.5million wage ceiling could stifle the Black Cats in the transfer market.
But the Echo understands that Sunderland’s hopes of striking deals with both Garbutt and Fraser have not been diminished by the result of the vote - although nothing is understood to be agreed or imminent with either player.
League One clubs today voted in favour of plans to limit spending on wages, agent fees and bonuses to a figure of £2.5million per season, while League Two clubs will implement a similar cap of £1.5million.
Some supporters have expressed concerns that Sunderland’s wage bill – which is the biggest in the third tier – would already exceed that amount, and as such the club would be unable to add to their squad this summer.
But transitional arrangements mean that currently contracted players see their wages count at a figure of around £91,000 per year which – based upon a rough estimate – would leave the Black Cats with around £860,000 per season to spend on wages.
Further new signings are therefore still expected, with Phil Parkinson keen on another five additions.
However, clubs will be limited to a squad cap of 22 players for the 2019/20 season, reducing to 21 and 20 in subsequent seasons – although players aged under the age of 21 are exempt from the cap.
Sunderland currently have 18 players over the age of 21 on their books, leaving four spots within the squad cap as Parkinson looks to continue his reshape of the squad. Should any players depart this summer, that would naturally increase the number of players that the Black Cats would be able to recruit.
Sunderland have been vocal in their opposition to the plans, with chief executive Jim Rodwell stating last month that he believed the EFL were ‘oversimplifying’ the issue.
"We don't think that the proposed flat cap on salaries makes sense" he said.
"We are all for running sustainable football clubs, but sustainability is not the same as levelling the playing field.
"I think the EFL are oversimplifying the sustainability issue.
"For a lot of clubs in League One, a £2.5m cap on wages is highly attractive, but our argument is that as a big football club we can generate more revenue and therefore we should be able to spend that revenue on players while remaining sustainable.
"This issue is not supposed to be about level playing fields, it is supposed to be about sustainability and trying to avoid what has happened to Wigan this week, and to Bury [who were expelled from the EFL due to financial problems] last summer.
"We agree with sustainability, but this is not the way forward at all."