Sunderland’s academy is in a bad place. That’s perhaps putting it rather lightly too.
They’ve won just once since February 2019 and they sit rock bottom of Premier League 2 Division 2.
However, plans are in place to make it better. They’ve already secured their Category 1 status while a number of different young players have been on trial at the Black Cats in recent weeks.
One of those happens to be Stan Asomugha. The West Brom winger has been a regular in Premier League 2 this term, appearing nine times and scoring twice, but it’s been claimed he’ll never play for the Baggies again.
Speaking last week, Sunderland U23 coach Elliot Dickman said: “They have been told by their parent clubs that they don’t have a future there so they are trying to find something else, and the confidence might not be that high.”
Dickman wasn’t just speaking about Asomugha, he was also talking about the futures of Tyler Frost and Tyler Hamilton who have been at Reading and Hull.
Asomugha, however, could be the more likely arrival. It was revealed that Sunderland are taking an extended look at the winger with a view to snapping him up.
If a deal is concluded, it would go a long way to improving the academy, but also meeting the aims of Tony Coton and David Jones.
Jones was brought in by owner Stewart Donald to focus on developing the football side of the business at the Stadium of Light while Coton is the club’s Head of Recruitment.
Alongside each other, they’re developing a strategy that allows Sunderland to broaden their horizons in terms of landing new recruits.
The duo have plans in place to bring in young players who also potentially have sell on value. Speaking this week, Jones noted: “I believe there is huge value in building a modern recruitment system, as we did at Oxford, employing specialist analysts to use the infinite data that’s now readily available, to work alongside the scouting team that Tony Coton is building.
“It’s such a competitive market and everyone is trying to outsmart each other to identify the best young talent with sell on value; investing in recruitment is the most sensible to develop a football club that doesn’t want to rely on single-owner investment as our club did for so long to its cost.”
Bringing in trialists means Sunderland are ahead of the game and in such a cut-throat market, that’s vitally important.
Jones alludes to identifying the best young talent and for a side currently plying their trade in League One, Asomugha is certainly up there.
The West Brom teenager is part of a thriving academy, one that made the FA Youth Cup semi-finals last season. He may have been told he has no future at the Baggies but that could now be to Sunderland’s gain.
Featuring on a regular basis means he has the talent, but whether he can apply it at the Academy of Light remains to be seen.
Either way, the Black Cats will certainly have a player with sell-on value in their grasp.