Sunderland boss Lee Johnson has urged the club’s fans to show some understanding over the state of the current transfer market, during a recent interview he gave to The Northern Echo.
The Black Cats have made two signings so far this summer, with Alex Pritchard and Jacob Carney both joining from Huddersfield Town and Manchester United respectively on free transfers.
Meanwhile a whole host of players have departed the Stadium of Light for pastures new, with the likes of Charlie Wyke, Max Power and Chris Maguire all having signed for new clubs after seeing their deals expire in the North East.
Now Johnson has called on the club’s ever expectant fanbase to be more understanding when it comes to the current market, with a lot of sides seeing their activity limited because of the financial effects of the ongoing pandemic:
“I think to educate the fans without being condescending, at the moment you’re in a position where a lot of clubs are, internally, really assessing where they stand for their long term future on the back of COVID.
“They’ve taken loans out, they’ve got to pay them back. A load of clubs are in embargoes or soft embargoes which is stagnating the market a little bit because it means you can’t do one in, one out.
“I told you about the agents. They see a lot of their free agents as the golden goose laying the golden egg and actually it’s not true because the first thing clubs want to try and save on is agents fees because that’s what goes straight out the game.
“I think as a coach, the perfect scenario would be that on 1st July, you’ve got your squad and you have to absolutely get them ready. As a team, bond them.
“Unfortunately we haven’t got that luxury so we’ve got to be super smart with that work that we do.”
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Johnson and co will be looking to press hard for promotion again next season after falling short of that objective in the campaign just gone.
The pressure is as high as ever in the North East, with Sunderland set to embark on their fourth straight season at Sky Bet League One level.
Patience isn’t something that seems to come easily for Sunderland fans and I think Johnson simply has to accept that there will always be pressure on his shoulders to get deals done for new signings.
It’s clear that the Black Cats are in need of a lot more fresh blood and I’m sure that their business will really start to accelerate over the coming months as the season draws ever closer.
A new striker or two is a clear prirority and it will be interesting to see if they go down the route of bringing in someone experienced or a young loanee from one of the higher leagues.
As rightly mentioned by the Sunderland boss, the market is tougher than ever right now and for that reason the club is likely to be forced to really stretch their budget to the maximum over the coming weeks to get a team together that they want.