Lee Johnson will have the final say on Sunderland’s transfer dealings this summer, according to Kristjaan Speakman.
The Black Cats are preparing for a pivotal few months in their history as they gear up for the new campaign.
What is not yet known is which division the Wearsiders will be plying their trade in with Johnson’s side in the play-off mix to secure promotion to the Championship.
If that’s to happen then Sunderland will need to beat Lincoln City, Oxford United and Blackpool to the punch and that’s something which could heavily influence which players are available to them this summer.
Speakman, the club’s sporting director, is already working hard on potential targets but despite the efforts of the recruitment team he has insisted that it’s the head coach who will dictate who arrives at the club, and who doesn’t.
Speaking on the SAFC Unfiltered podcast, Speakman said: “It’s always a question that gets raised because there’s always this sort of start point that everyone has a different position.
“If you think about a top-down approach, and an identity that you’re trying to create for Sunderland, then you’ve got this footballing philosophy and then you’ve got a game model and you’re looking for players to fit the game model.
“If we all understand the identity, the football philosophy and the game model then you shouldn’t be too far apart on the players you’re looking for to fit it. Therefore you’re starting to really discuss the various intricacies of that list of players.
“Ultimately, it has to fit a financial model and it has to fit the needs of the squad composition. That’s where I’m responsible in terms of making sure the squad composition is correct, it fits in with the succession planning, and it meets the financial elements of either the budget or the long-term planning.
“But then it has to be a player that Lee wants to pick in the team, otherwise there’s absolutely zero point. So if you like, the final decision is Lee’s.”
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This is great news for Sunderland.
The new structure under Kyril-Louis Dreyfus is very exciting for the supporters of the club but what’s most important is that all of the departments are working in unison to achieve their targets.
Lee Johnson is the man in charge of the team and so it’s only right that he has final say on who joins the club – after all, it’s him that will be judged on the performances of the team.
Speakman and co. will clearly be a big influence in this area, but for Johnson it’s crucial that the club sign the right players to take the club forward.