Despite perhaps not doing all the transfer business they would have wanted to complete, it has been a good start to the 2021-22 season for Sunderland.
The Black Cats have picked up five victories out of six matches in all competitions and Lee Johnson has trusted young players such as Dan Neil, Elliot Embleton and Callum Doyle to fill in the gaps left by more experienced figures from last season.
Sunderland have signed seven players so far this summer but there could be more to come, with a striker probably top of the agenda as well as perhaps a goalkeeper.
Johnson will have some big decisions to make ahead of the transfer window closing next week – let’s look at two dilemmas he could be facing ahead of the August 31 deadline.
Putting all eggs in the Jebbison basket?
The Black Cats are very light at the top end of the pitch due to Charlie Wyke’s summer departure to Wigan Athletic, and the one player who has been heavily rumoured to be interesting the Wearside club is Sheffield United teenager Daniel Jebbison.
The 18-year-old scored on his first Premier League start for Sheffield United last season but has a plethora of options ahead of him in the pecking order at Bramall Lane, and the likes of Sunderland, Doncaster and Burton Albion have all been linked with a loan move.
Out of those clubs, Sunderland are by far the biggest and the Northern Echo believe that Jebbison’s preferred destination for the season is the Stadium of Light, however the deal hinges on the Blades lowering their financial demands.
Can Sunderland afford to put all their eggs in one basket when it comes to Jebbison? Johnson and the recruitment team should perhaps be looking at contingency plans if the move is not to happen – if they aren’t already.
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How much of a sacrifice to take on Grigg?
It’s pretty clear to everyone that Will Grigg doesn’t seem to be fully in Lee Johnson’s plans as the Northern Ireland international enters the final year of his contract at the club.
Johnson has confirmed that there is transfer interest in the striker, with Grigg wanting a move to a club closer to his family in the Midlands, but it’s unlikely that anyone is going to match his wages in League One.
It means that Sunderland have a decision to make in terms of how much of a financial sacrifice they are willing to make on Grigg this summer – they are likely going to have to pay some of his wages this season if he moves to another club, which is not an ideal situation but it’s a price to pay following his unsuccessful and expensive transfer in January 2019.