Sunderland legend delivers verdict on January business and when it can be judged a success - or not
The January transfer window has long gone but no matter how much we speculate or analyse the business the club has done, it will be judged as successful or not only by what division Sunderland are in next season.
Five new faces have come in and they have definitely given Phil Parkinson more options and in the second half of a long campaign when injuries and suspensions are inevitable, I have no doubt they will all be used but the big question is, will any of them improve the starting XI and drag the club to promotion?
Jordan Willis has been the best signing of the summer transfer window.
He is one of the first names on the teamsheet, plays every week and has produced exceptional levels of performance for most of the season.
Whether any of the January crop can have a similar impact remains to be seen but if just one or two of them can turn out to be a star and improve the starting XI like Willis has, then it might just be enough.
Strengthening the squad is important and having a strong bench gives options for the later stages in games but improving the starting XI is the hard bit and for now the jury on that one is out because most of them can’t get a start yet because the team keeps winning.
Sunderland’s best January transfer window ever came under Sam Allardyce when Kone, Khazri and Kirchhoff signed and they didn’t come to Wearside to sit on the bench or give Big Sam a few more options, they started games because they were better than what Allardyce already had and improved the team which ultimately made all the difference.
People say January is a bad month for signings and I have never understood that, does it really matter when a signing is made if he is successful?
You could say the January transfer window is more important because it is your last roll of the dice, in the first half of the season if it is not going well you can always look to January to put things right, however, when January shuts that is it - no more safety nets, you live with what you have got for better or for worse.
Kone, Kichhoff and Khazri are the benchmark of a successful January transfer window, what a boost it would be if any of our new boys have a similar impact.