Sunderland have made a slow start to the summer transfer window, but make no mistake, they mean business.
After losing several high-profile players at the end of their contracts – plus several more who could still move on – the clear focus has been on making room in the squad for potential new arrivals.
The challenge now is to get them onboard.
With Kyril Louis-Dreyfus preparing for the first summer since taking over the club it’s clear that efforts are being made to ensure that the club are operating in a proactive and forward-thinking way.
Kristjaan Speakman’s appointment as sporting director will see to that as he looks to implement a business model which is focused on signing players who don’t just have room to develop and improve, but also have scope to grow in value.
Doing that is no easy task as there are no guarantees in football, but if Sunderland start operating with the future in mind it will eventually mean that the club are operating sustainably with a policy of buying low, selling high and then reinvesting the profits.
The initial tendency will be to spend minimal sums on new players but this is something that will have to be decided based on the potential of the individual involved.
Dion Sanderson is a particularly interesting case.
The 21-year-old spent time at the Stadium Of Light last term and proved himself as a valuable part of Lee Johnson’s side during his time away from Premier League side Wolves.
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The Black Cats are hoping to wrap up a permanent deal for the player after he was told that he was free to leave Molineux, leading Sunderland to make a £1million offer for the player which was rejected by the top flight club.
It’s claimed that Wolves are demanding £2million for Sanderson as interest builds in the Championship – a substantial sum for a club in League One to pay for one individual.
However there’s certainly a case to suggest that this could prove to be a shrewd investment.
£2million may seem like a lot at this moment in time but given the quality that Sanderson has at his disposal it’s clear to see that he has the capability to become a top-level Championship player, or even a Premier League star in the future.
If that potential is fulfilled then there’s no question that Sanderson’s value would sky-rocket to an eight-figure level.
Wrapping up a deal for Sanderson would be a bold move for Lee Johnson’s side to make this summer given their current position in the football pyramid but if Dreyfus is serious about signing players who have the potential to really kick on then there would be no better player to signal his intentions with than Dion Sanderson.