Sunderland 'close to transfer breakthrough' as David Jones discusses recruitment approach this summer

David Jones says Sunderland are hopeful that they’ve made a breakthrough on a ‘key’ transfer target.

Friday, 21st August 2020, 3:25 pm

Phil Parkinson remains eager to add five more players to his squad this summer having brought in Aiden O’Brien and Bailey Wright.

The club’s recruitment department is being overhauled following the departures of Tony Coton and Richard Hill earlier this summer, and is an area that Jones is heavily involved with following his appointment to the board as a non-executive director late last year.

Jones admitted at the Foundation of Light’s fixture breakfast this morning that he and Tom Sloanes, who was appointed to a similar role at the same time, were ‘frustrated’ with their level of influence to begin with, but feels that has changed during the lockdown period.

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Jones says the club have three ‘key positions’ they need to fill, while also adding some additional ‘sparkle’ to the team.

Parkinson is known to be in the market for a goalkeeper, with Remi Matthews a prime target.

He is also eager to add at least one more defender, as well as cover and competition for Denver Hume.

At leats one more addition in forward areas is also a priority.

Non-executive Director David Jones

“I think we made a breakthrough yesterday on a key target so we should have more on that in the next 28 to 48 hours if we can get that done,” Jones said.

“There are lots of plates spinning and all being well, we'll add the numbers that Phil has been talking about.”

Jones also discussed the club’s recruitment approach this summer more generally, and opened up the issues posed by the salary cap.

He admits that has caused particular problems in forward positions, where ‘players expect bigger wages than can be paid under the cap’.

Jones, alongside his fellow new members of the board, has advocated the greater use of data and analytics in recruitment.

He says he is determined to ‘create value’ in the team, while ensuring they are aware of any deal that could help Parkinson get his side promoted at the third time of asking.

“The goalposts moved quite dramatically halfway through the window,” Jones said.

“Now it's a big jigsaw puzzle, we have 22 slots for over 21s, we obviously need three key positions and then it's about adding a bit of sparkle to the team.

“We want to add value to the club long-term and build sustainability, which the club has been without for about a decade or more. Trying to avoid short-term signings where you can, though there might be one or two little bargains that come up.

“At the end of this period, towards the start of the season, players you thought weren't in your reach have found that the glut of clubs willing to pay a lot of money for them have disappeared, so you might want to pick up one or two that can help us get over the line.

“It's a balance between getting promotion this season, which we all want, and building a more sustainable football team.”