Sunderland look to summer transfers

Danny Graham
Danny Graham
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SUNDERLAND’S plans for the summer transfer window are well under way.

The Black Cats were busy enough in January with Danny Graham, Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Managane arriving at the club, while Fraizer Campbell, David Meyler and Blair Adams departed permanently and Ji Dong-won and Ahmed Elmohamady went out on loan.

But chief executive Margaret Byrne has revealed the club is already gearing up for the summer – with targets being drawn up even before the last transfer window closed.

Byrne said: “People sometimes say that the search for new signings begins on February 1, but I think it actually begins earlier than that. It begins in January.

“It begins then because you’re looking at possible signings that can’t happen in that window, but might happen in the next.

“The ideal scenario is to get all the players in before pre-season – that’s something you always hope for.”

“But you aim for it in the full knowledge that in reality it is always unlikely to happen.”

Byrne also revealed that when it comes to transfer signings, things are never really as simple or straight-forward as they might occasionally appear to the outside world.

And she said that while the club always goes for their top targets, the nature of the transfer market means that things are fluid.

“You always have to have a Plan B and C as well as a Plan A,” she said.

“Nine times out of 10, you get your Plan A – Steven Fletcher is one example. Martin O’Neill always wanted him and was prepared to wait – but you always have to have other options in the background. It provides a safety net.

“The way it can work at times, it’s no exaggeration to say you might be looking at 15 players for just two positions.

“It can be as complex as that, which obviously makes the windows very high-pressurised affairs.”

Byrne also said that for every potential deal that comes off, there are many others that don’t – and that applies to the window just gone – a window in which Martin O’Neill has already told the Echo that one major signing almost came off, only to fail at the final hurdle.

“We were really close to one,” admitted Byrne. “But that player had an injury which was only detected at the end of the process.

“It was all very amicable. Our medical department picked it up – decent player as well, to be fair – but we decided we couldn’t proceed.

“And as it turned out, that player still isn’t playing for their club, so it was the right decision to make.

“But these are the sort of things that can happen in the transfer window, and you always have to be aware that even at advanced stages, they are a possibility.”