These are the areas Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson will be targeting for rest of transfer window
Just a week into the summer transfer window and Sunderland’s transfer business has been pleasantly swift with two signings through the door.
One, in the shape of experienced Championship defender Bailey Wright was expected but still no less welcome and the other, forward Aiden O’Brien, both signing permanent deals on free transfers.
Expect that to be the norm this summer, mixed with loans, as clubs come to terms with the financial fallout of Covid-19 and the transfer market likely to see less fees change hands at this level.
Phil Parkinson is pleased with the business done so far, keen to thank Stewart Donald for his help in getting the deals over the line despite the ongoing takeover uncertainty.
A solid start but much more needs to be done.
Parkinson does, though, have the start of a strong XI with Lee Burge to replace Jon McLaughlin in goal, though Parkinson does want to sign another experienced goalkeeper.
A back three of Jordan Willis, Bailey Wright and Tom Flanagan will be up there with the strongest in the division, with Luke O’Nien and Denver Hume at wing-back.
Parkinson has options in central midfield with Grant Leadbitter and Josh Scowen but if the season were to start tomorrow then it’s likely Max Power and George Dobson would get the nod.
Out wide, Chris Maguire and Lynden Gooch with Charlie Wyke leading the attack. Will Grigg and Aiden O’Brien options on the bench.
Elliot Embleton another option and someone who will be looking to make a big impact at the Stadium of Light this season following a loan move and injury.
That would likely be Parkinson’s first choice XI based on how last season ended and his current options but the experienced manager has already made clear he wants at least half a dozen signings in this summer, salary cap depending, of course.
So which other areas need to be strengthened?
Another goalkeeper is a given, back-up in central defence obviously needed too if playing three centre-halves and another option in the full-back areas.
The other big area of concern would be the number of goals the current XI would score, with big question marks over Wyke and Grigg’s goal return.
Surely, adding some more guile and pace in the forward areas and a clinical finisher must be the priority before the window closes in October.
Fans will also want to see plenty of versatility in the squad to allow Parkinson the opportunity to mix up his 3-4-3 system and formation, something Sunderland struggled to do when they went on the four game winless streak just before lockdown that saw them miss out on a play-off spot.
Plenty of time left this transfer window but with the new season kicking off on September 12, the clock is ticking.
A solid start from which Sunderland must build this summer as League One is set to be as competitive as ever with the likes of Charlton Athletic, Wigan Athletic and Hull City heading to the third tier.