Sunderland boss Lee Johnson reveals talks with potential summer signings over Zoom as he opens up on recruitment process
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson has revealed talks have taken place with potential new signings as he looks to build a squad capable of winning League One promotion.
The Black Cats are facing a hectic transfer window after releasing seven players at the end of the 2020/21 campaign, while the futures of Luke O’Nien, Charlie Wyke, Aidan McGeady and Denver Hume are yet to be confirmed.
McGeady, as revealed by the Echo, is set to extend his stay while there is growing confidence Luke O'Nien will pen a new deal.
Hume has also been offered fresh terms but is yet to commit, while Wyke is not expected to sign a new deal, as previously reported.
Scottish giants Celtic are among the clubs chasing the Middlesbrough-born striker, with strong interest from several Championship clubs as well.
Despite a quiet opening couple of weeks to the summer market in terms of incomings, Johnson has assured supporters he is working tirelessly after holding conversations with players over Zoom.
He told the club website: "My summer has consisted of looking at Wyscout, recruitment data, having Zoom meetings with potential players we might bring in, current players we want to retain and players that have run out of contract who we’re trying to renew.
"I haven’t watched a minute of the Euros – which could be a good or a bad thing – but saying that, I have enjoyed it because I’ve been part of that process to determine what we need, how we’re going to do it in terms of matching the data with the eye and the football nous if you like.
"That’s been an enjoyable process but it’ll be even more enjoyable once we start getting players through the door and we’re able to start working with them to hopefully build this new squad and really implement what we’re trying to achieve.”
Having failed to win promotion to the Championship for the third successive season, Johnson and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman are overseeing a major transformation of the playing squad – something which the former Bristol City manager is relishing.
Johnson added: “We’re working really, really hard.
"Obviously there are a lot of new people at the football club – our sporting director Kristjaan, James in data, Stuart in recruitment and the coaches.
"We’ve all got to get to know each other very quickly. I’ve really enjoyed building that back story and being a part of that build over the summer but it hasn’t left a holiday!”
Sunderland begin pre-season training at the Academy of Light on Monday ahead of facing National League North side Spennymoor Town on Saturday in their first friendly.
It is likely a number of younger players will be involved in the game with experienced first-team options currently limited for Johnson given the lack of signings to date.
However, Johnson is hopeful new arrivals will be finalised soon
Johnson joked: "There’s not much I can do apart from have a five aside!
"But I do expect a trickle of new signings and hopefully players re-signing where possible.”