According to journalist Phil Smith, it’s looking unlikely that Sunderland will dip their toes into the market to sign another free agent.
Sunderland failed to bring anyone into their squad for a fee throughout January, initially signing Kyle Lafferty on a free transfer.
The Black Cats added a host of players to their ranks on a temporary basis too. Bailey Wright, Josh Scowen, Declan John and Antoine Semenyo arrived through the doors on loan but with the window still open for free transfers, it’s possible that teams in and around Sunderland may look to strengthen further.
However, it’s looking like their business will be done.
During a Q&A on the Sunderland Echo, Smith was asked about the possibility of the Mackems bolstering their squad with a further addition. His response was the following:
“I wouldn’t be looking at the free agent market. I’m not sure there’s really any need to make the squad any bigger, and you just have to look at the players who missed out on Saturday.
“Will Grigg, Grant Leadbitter, Ethan Robson, and Alim Ozturk all missed out, and then you have to consider that Elliot Embleton is close to a return from injury and Declan John will be available from this weekend onwards.
“Any free agent who comes in now will need at least three weeks to reach anything close to match fitness, and so I’d only be considering it if there was a player who could be guaranteed to make an instant impact and is an obvious upgrade on the players currently top of the pecking order.”
Considering free agents are likely to be low on match fitness, it seems pretty pointless to bring anyone in unless they’re a proven entity in League One and can genuinely boost Phil Parkinson’s promotion hopes.
If any area would be targeted, it would surely be in attack. Although Lafferty has entered the club on a deal until the end of the current campaign, he’s yet to score. Meanwhile, Charlie Wyke and Will Grigg have netted a combined five league goals between them.
Sunderland have bounced back from an initial poor run under Parkinson that saw him win just twice in his opening 14 matches. Prior to defeat against Portsmouth last weekend, they were nine games unbeaten and looked in far better shape to make the playoffs.
The squad seems far more settled and with players like Ethan Robson and Alim Ozturk to come back into the squad, there is considerable depth within the first-team picture. There is no need to spend more money on wages for players who are unlikely to make an instant impact.