Sunderland's Sporting Director Kristjaan SpeakmanSunderland's Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman
Sunderland's Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman

Sunderland AFC transfers: Rating every deal sanctioned by Kristjaan Speakman this summer and the January priorities it's left

Sunderland return to Championship action this weekend with a daunting trip to face second-placed Ipswich Town at Portman Road.

Attention is also turning to a vitally important January window, as Sunderland look to cement their play-off place under new head coach Michael Beale. It has been an unusual first half of the campaign, with the Black Cats doing well to maintain their form despite the loss of Amad and Ross Stewart. And yet there has also been an inconsistency that has led to some bitterly disappointing results and big missed opportunities.

The underlying data suggests Sunderland are one of the strongest teams in the division, and yet they haven’t always found it easy to turn that into results and particularly against struggling sides. So how do the decisions taken by the club and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman now stand up to scrutiny? And what does it tell us about what as to happen next? We take a closer look, deal by deal...