NEW TECHNICAL director Lee Congerton says Sunderland need to be “smart” with their recruitment to bring in British talent without breaking the bank.
Youngster Duncan Watmore was the only domestic recruit among the 14 new signings made by Sunderland last summer, as former managerial pair Paolo Di Canio and Roberto De Fanti concentrated on the European market.
But Congerton, confirmed as De Fanti’s successor earlier this month, has revealed that Sunderland are now more likely to revert to signing British-based players.
Those targets come at a premium though and Congerton says that makes Sunderland’s scouting system all the more important.
“Ultimately we want British players, but they cost a lot more money so we need to be smart in the market place and do our research thoroughly,” he told Sunderland’s matchday programme.
Congerton has far from ruled out signing players from abroad, but points to the example of on-loan Liverpool striker Fabio Borini, who was brought to these shores as a youngster and given time to develop.
“When you bring in a foreign player you’ve got to appreciate the difficulties off the field and the patience needed,” he added.
“It helps if they’ve already played in the league. I look at Fabio Borini, who I think has been a success this year.
“He’s a foreign player, but he’s been established in this country since he was around 15 or 16 years of age. I think that’s a market you have to look at quite carefully.”