Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has admitted that there is still a lot of work to be done this transfer window, highlighting that full-backs are a clear area of prioritisation, as reported by the Chronicle Live.
At left-back, the future of academy graduate, Denver Hume, remains to be seen with Johnson stating that talks are ongoing. Callum McFadzean also saw his contract expire at the end of June and has since attracted Championship interest.
Meanwhile, at right-back, Conor McLaughlin, who was the club’s first-choice for the majority of the season, is another player who has become a free agent this summer.
Near the end of the season, Max Power filled in at right-back, but his move to Wigan proves that a right-back ranks very high up on Johnson’s wish-list.
Speaking to Chronicle Live, Johnson outlined that he and the rest of the club know that recruiting full-backs is a glaringly obvious are to fix: “We still have a lot of work to do, we know that. We clearly need a left back, a right back. We have got players who can play there, but we don’t want to take players away from their natural position.
“I would rather wait, be patient, and capitalise when there’s an opportunity, and have some funds in the kitty for when really good opportunities become available as they will.”
Full-backs are becoming an increasingly important aspect of modern-day football and without quality options in those positions, it could be another long season for Sunderland.
Attacking full-backs, who are just as competent defensively, are most desirable. A player who has bundles of energy with attacking quality poses a different kind of threat and that would boost Sunderland’s chances of returning to the second-tier.
Whilst having versatile players – which Sunderland have in abundance – a manager wants to field the strongest side possible, with players in their correct position.
Prioritising full-backs is definitely the best way to go for Sunderland at this moment in time, whilst keeping in close contact with Hume.