After Saturday’s defeat to Leicester, it’s clear to see that Sunderland need to majorly improve if they want to avoid another relegation battle.
Their season seems to be in a constant loop of relegation trouble, sack the manager, derby win, scrape survival, summer transfer window, and repeat.
Not only are their current crop of players going to be vital in their fight for survival, but what they do in the next couple of weeks before the transfer window closes will be as well. The Black Cats do have options in the transfer market, and with a manager like Dick Advocaat, it would be surprising if they didn’t strengthen before the end of the window.
With that in mind, and looking at who is available in the market at the minute, here are five signings the club could make to ensure survival.
This transfer saga feels like it has gone on longer than the list of London-based Manchester United supporters.
Borini was on loan at Sunderland in the 2013/14 season, and had a knack of scoring important goals, including in both Tyne-Wear derbies, and in their Capital One Cup Final against Manchester City.
He apparently turned down a return to the north-east last summer, but has seemingly had a change of heart, and the Black Cats reignited their interest in the Italian following Adam Johnson’s shoulder injury.
He’s one that would certainly bring a sense of optimism back to the Sunderland fans following the opening day defeat, and get people flocking to the Stadium of Light to watch him as well.
Despite signing two central defenders over the summer, their most recent performance at Leicester has shown the back line does need strengthening further.
Evans impressed Sunderland fans when he had his last spells there between 2006 and 2008 – he even won their Young Player of the Year award in 2007.
It might surprise you to hear United value him at £10 million, but he’d be worth the price tag for the teams in the bottom half – and Manchester United defensive rejects do love to end up at the Stadium of Light.
Januzaj does have a slight link already with Sunderland, with it being the club he scored a brace against on his Premier League debut.
Despite seemingly rubbishing reports of a move away from Manchester United, Januzaj should still be a target for the Black Cats this transfer window.
If a move does happen, it will be a loan deal, with United unlikely to let the Belgian go permanently. The Red Devils are reportedly on the verge of signing Barcelona forward Pedro, and considering that, LVG may well push Januzaj towards the exit door.
Januzaj not only gives Sunderland more options going forward, but adds a huge amount of pace to the side as well.
He’s been linked with just about every club in the Premier League this summer, hasn’t he?
Following QPR’s relegation, the club have been looking to sell the forward – for the right price – which has been set at £15 million.
Despite being hotly linked with rivals Newcastle United, the striker would a be a great signing for Sunderland. He would more than justify the £15 million price tag, especially looking at his goalscoring record – and we all know the age old adage that goals keep you in the league.
With the only real goalscoring outlet going forward being Jermain Defoe, Sunderland really need to press on and get another striker in, given how badly they struggled in this department last time out.
Sunderland don’t really have that guile coming from the attacking reaches of their midfield. Lee Cattermole and Seb Larsson are both regular names on the team sheet, but they don’t really provide the creativity further up the field.
And, with Jack Rodwell struggling in the red and white shirt, Dick Advocaat should be looking to strengthen in the advanced positions of his midfield.
They were linked with Calhanoglu over the summer, and the Turkish midfielder would provide them with energy through the middle. He’s also known for being deadly at set pieces, meaning he’d be ideal in the number ten role for the Black Cats.
He cost Bayer Leverkusen £10 million back in 2014 after signing him from Hamburg, and would realistically cost Sunderland around £15 million.