Kristjaan Speakman has shed further light on his transfer strategy at Sunderland this summer.
In a recent interview with the SAFC Unfiltered podcast (cited by the Sunderland Echo), the Sunderland sporting director suggested that a major part of his plan for the recently closed transfer window was to reduce the average age of Lee Johnson’s first-team squad, as well as signing quality over quality.
In his comments, Speakman said: “We did let a group of players go which was potentially risky but we felt that to change the philosophy, the dynamic of the squad and average age that would have to be done.
“The average age this year is 24.8. I think last year it was just over 28. We had some games where we were just short of 29. If you look at that it’s a huge difference [in] what the squad dynamic looks like.”
The sporting director continued: “We had a really clear idea about who we wanted to go for and we wanted to go for a smaller streamline squad of quality over quantity. When you do that you have to be really precise with those signings because you have less room for error.”
Considering the fact that Sunderland’s decline from the Premier League to the third tier of English football was largely down to disastrous recruitment, horrible mismanagement and chaos in the boardroom – all of which contributed to poor results achieved on the pitch – Speakman’s latest remarks are sure to come as music to the ears of the Stadium of Light faithful.
Finally, it would seem as if there is a clear transfer plan and philosophy at Sunderland – something that would already appear to be bearing fruit, with the Mackems currently topping the League One table after five games played.
As such, it very much seems as if, under the guidance of Speakman in the transfer market and Lee Johnson on the pitch, things are finally looking up on Wearside, something that has been an incredibly long time coming.
And, if the Black Cats can go on to achieve promotion come next May, Sunderland fans will undoubtedly be forever grateful to Speakman for being the man who finally helped get their club back on track.