This is what Sunderland will not do in the transfer market under Kyril Louis-Dreyfus
25 days to go.
The big kick-off of Sunderland’s season is rapidly approaching and the squad remains in dire need of reinforcements.
Eight players have departed the Stadium of Light since the conclusion of the 2020/21 season with just one arrival – Alex Pritchard – bolstering the ranks.
Naturally, some supporters are growing concerned given there is plenty of work to be done in the transfer market and the clock is ticking down until the August 7 clash with Wigan Athletic.
The Latics themselves are one of the third tier clubs who have been exceptionally busy this summer, with Ipswich Town also catching the eye with some of their early recruitment.
But Sunderland will not be rushed into purchases purely to match the pace of their rivals this summer.
Under Kyril Louis-Dreyfus the club are going to take a far more strategic approach to recruitment – even if that means playing the waiting game. It’s very much a case of the right player over the available player; quality over quantity.
And panic buys, spurred on by the activity of others, are very much off the table.
In his first interview after purchasing a majority stake in the club, Louis-Dreyfus spoke of how he felt it was ‘very important in football not to panic.’
Too often in the past at Sunderland, we have seen that the reality has not matched the rhetoric. But this summer, Louis-Dreyfus is backing-up his words with a patient approach to recruitment.
Of course, any club would like to have the vast majority of players in place for the early weeks of pre-season – maximising the chances of hitting the ground running once the new season begins.
But football is never that simple.
And this summer’s transfer window has been vastly different to many that have come before it.
The impacts of a year without supporters are continuing to be felt and there has been a real shift in power from the Championship to League One, with clubs at the top end of the third tier now potentially in a better position to offer big wages than some of those clubs in the division above.
It’s important to note, however, that Sunderland’s lack of incoming activity is not necessarily indicative of a lick of financial firepower.
The Black Cats still have a very healthy budget and there are plenty of reasons why potential signings may not come off.
That Alex Pritchard, a player who was known to have suitors in the Championship, signed for the club suggests that Sunderland’s financial offers and club vision remain an attractive proposition to players.
And his addition suggests the the club are aiming high in the market this summer.
Players of Pritchard’s quality are in high demand and therefore deals are understandably going to take longer to complete.
That is frustrating for both the club and supporters, especially during a window in which Sunderland’s new-look recruitment team will begin to be judged.
But that judgement cannot fully be made until the window closes at the end of August.
There is plenty of time until that point and the Black Cats’ transfer team will no doubt be keen to get further deals over the line sooner rather than later.
But the one thing they will not do is panic.