While Newcastle made a bright start to the transfer window, signing a handful of players early on, since then they’ve come to something of a grinding halt and Alan Pardew has been unable to pick up any more players. On the other hand, our neighbours Sunderland have been signing players left, right and centre and have pretty much secured a whole new team. So, by managing to strengthen all over the pitch, have Sunderland stolen a march on Newcastle in the transfer market?
Sunderland have made nine summer signings thus far, including Wes Brown, John O’Shea, David Vaughan, Craig Gardner, Sebastian Larsson and Connor Wickham. The latter, Wickham, is arguably the most exciting of their purchases, but it will be a big ask for him to step up right away. The rest of those players will undoubtedly strengthen their squad, and manager Steve Bruce has used his Manchester United connections to pick up a pair of solid defenders.
You could argue that Sunderland have done exactly what Newcastle haven’t – use the money gained from players sold to re-invest in the squad. In a similar situation to the Magpies, the Black Cats sold one of their brightest prospects, Jordan Henderson, for a substantial fee to Liverpool. They have plugged that gap to some extent with Vaughan, Gardner and Larsson and will be hoping one of them will step up to the plate.
However, Sunderland have found that it’s not easy to replace your best players. After selling Darren Bent to Aston Villa in January, they had a torrid second half to the season, losing a number of games on the trot. By selling arguably their best midfielder this summer, it will significantly weaken them again, and none of the players mentioned above strike fear into you as an opposition, although they are all decent Premier League players.
As a Newcastle fan I’m not overly worried by the work that Sunderland have done in the transfer window. While I’m slightly envious of the number of players they’ve bought, it seems to be a case of quantity over quality – no disrespect to any of their new signings. However, I’m sure Pardew wishes he had the money that Bruce has had to spend, as getting funds at St James’ Park seems to be like getting blood out of a stone.
We’ll just have to wait and see how each team’s transfer activity compares, but we won’t have to wait long – bring on the Tyne-Wear Derby at the Stadium of Light on August 20th!
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