This is what Sunderland fans can expect when the January transfer window opens

The January window has had its fair share of hits and misses for Sunderland since their drop into League One.

While the likes of Kaz Sterling and Declan John barely made a mark, the signings of Grant Leadbitter and Bailey Wright have proven successful.

So what can we expect from this winter window, the first of the Lee Johnson reign? We take a look:


Sunderland head coach Lee JohnsonSunderland head coach Lee Johnson
Sunderland head coach Lee Johnson
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It’s unlikely to be a particularly busy January for Sunderland in terms of incomings.

Much of that is down to the League One squad and salary caps, which will ultimately dictate much of the business across the division.

The Black Cats currently have one space free beneath the 22-man squad cap and Johnson says he has some headroom in terms of wages - meaning new signings are possible.

But it would be little surprise to see Sunderland turn their attention to the under-21 market given that players under that age do not count towards either cap.

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Johnson has already spoken of the connections he and his staff have elsewhere which could allow them to garner some exciting young talent from further up the pyramid and loan deals may well be on the cards this window.

While new sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has spoken of a desire to ensure that signings meet the medium to long-term needs of Sunderland, there is an understanding that some short-term recruits may well be needed to help the club get out of League One.

Pace and power will be top of Johnson’s list for January, with the head coach looking for players who can stretch the opposition in the wide areas.

Someone of the mould of Antoine Semenyo, who joined Sunderland on loan last January before going on to establish himself at Johnson’s former club Bristol City, would be a welcome addition.

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Elsewhere, it’s unclear where else Johnson may look to strengthen.

Sunderland have one of the deepest squads in League One so may well look to move players on if they are to target multiple new recruits.


So who could be on the move in the other direction this January?

There will no doubt be some speculation around Will Grigg, who has been linked with an exit for the last two windows.

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There are also a dozen players whose contracts expire in the summer, and their futures may well come under the microscope in January.

But there are no obvious candidates to depart as there has been in previous years.

Perhaps the greatest movement will come in the under-23 setup, where a number of players may be considered for loan moves.

The likes of Anthony Patterson could surely benefit from regular senior football elsewhere, and January could be an ideal opportunity for them to find just that.

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Benji Kimpioka would be a prime candidate for this too, but it remains to be seen when he will return from the hamstring injury that curtailed his positive start to the season.

And there may well be a case for Dan Neil to head out on loan too, should first-team chances at the Stadium of Light not be forthcoming.

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