It goes without saying that Sunderland aren’t quite the team they were a few years ago.
Gone are the days where the Black Cats are able to spend eight-figure sums on unproven foreign talents, as they now languish in League One.
Indeed, the Wearside outfit have had to be a lot cannier in their recruitment in recent years, and on the whole, they’ve done quite a decent job.
They’ve swallowed their pride and brought in a plethora of proven talent at this level, including Tommy Wright and Jordan Willis, and it’s standing them in good stead as they sit just four points off an automatic promotion spot.
However, they may soon be back to square one after Phil Parkinson’s recent comments.
The manager was asked about contract renewals with a number of key players entering the final few months of their current deals, and his response wasn’t the most reassuring.
“Myself, Richard Hill, and the chairman will have a chat about the situation,” Parkinson said.
“It is difficult, because of course at the moment we don’t know where we are going to be and that dictates a lot of things, mainly the budget, obviously.
“We need to sit down and make decisions with different budgets in mind.”
If Sunderland lose a number of these players they will need another huge rebuild just a couple of years after they undertook a major reshuffle following relegation from the Championship.
We’d love to be a fly on the wall when Parkinson discusses the situation with Hill and the chairman, but if the contract situations aren’t promptly sorted, Tony Coton may find himself with a big job on his hands.
If all nine of those players do walk out the door on a free, once the transfer window reopens Coton could be tasked with rebuilding the core of the squad. With Stewart Donald hardly forthcoming in terms of providing funds, it’ll be an uphill battle for Sunderland’s Head of Recruitment.