Lee Johnson has provided an update on the current state of Sunderland’s transfer business.
In recent comments cited by Chronicle Live, the Black Cats manager revealed that he is confident of landing at least two new signings ahead of the club’s upcoming League One campaign, with kicks off against Wigan Athletic on August 7th.
The report goes on to mention the fact that Sunderland have been linked with two right-backs in recent weeks, Nottingham Forest’s Jordan Gabriel and Exeter City’s Josh Key, although there has been no breakthrough in discussions regarding either player as yet.
However, the 40-year-old nevertheless appears upbeat concerning the club’s transfer business, stating: “We’re working really hard behind the scenes and a lot of that is to put yourself in a position where you’ve got the options.”
“They [Key and Gabriel] are not our players and so I can’t talk about them, as you know. You have a list, sometimes five, ten, and you’ve got to make sure it’s a quality list and that it fits with what you’re trying to do.
“They’ve got to be affordable, available and fit the club’s philosophy. It’s not easy but to be fair, I do feel like we are getting there in a couple of positions. My hope is that in the next week to ten days, we’re able to bring a couple in.”
With there having been something of an exodus at the Stadium of Light this summer – with eight first-team players leaving the club – while incoming business has been slow – so far Sunderland have signed just Alex Pritchard, Corry Evans and loanee Callum Doyle – the fact that Johnson seems confident the Black Cats will be bringing in a few more new faces ahead of next season is sure to be music to the ears of fans.
Indeed, it is easy to see why the likes of Key and Gabriel are attracting the interest of Sunderland, as, other than Luke O’Nien – a central midfielder who often filled in in the middle and on the right of defence last season – the 40-year-old does not have an out and out right-back in his first-team squad.
The Mackems are also short on the opposite side of the backline, with Denver Hume being the club’s only option as a natural left-back.
As such, should Johnson wish to take his side further than last season’s play-off semi-final defeat in their upcoming campaign, both left and right-back are positions in which the former Bristol City manager simply must strengthen over the coming weeks.
However, the 40-year-old will know more than most exactly what he needs to do in what remains of the transfer window, and, with the Black Cats boss appearing upbeat regarding the club’s potential incoming business, Sunderland fans will undoubtedly be breathing a sigh of relief.