Charalampos Mavrias (mid) Fortuna Dusseldorf – end of loan;
Emanuele Giaccherini (sp) (mid) Napoli; Santiago Vergini (sp) (def) Boca Juniors; Valentin Roberge (def) Apollon Limassol; Danny Graham (sp) (att) Blackburn; Steven Fletcher (sp) (att) Sheffield Wednesday; Adam Matthews (sp) (def) Bristol City – on loan; Wes Brown (def) released; Steve Harper (gk) released; Dame N’Doye (sp) (att) Trabzonspor – end of loan; Ola Toivonen (sp) (att) Rennes – end of loan; Yann M’Vila (r) (mid) Rubin Kazan – end of loan;
For the umpteenth time in recent history Sunderland flirted with danger right until the final weeks of the season and the Black Cats can’t hope that they will keep narrowly escaping the drop. Only after Allardyce’s arrival in January things improved for the team and the spring was positive. Unfortunately for Sunderland’s fans their manager was chosen to be the new boss of England and just three weeks before the start of the season David Moyes was appointed to replace him. The Scotsman failed in his last two jobs and he knows that this is his last chance to establish his name as a good manager. Moyes needs to act very quickly though as Sunderland are yet to sign a single new player this summer and their squad hardly look ready for the season-opener. It was probably not a bad thing that half a dozen players that disappointed year after year in the past were allowed to leave, but the Black Cats also lost three loanees that had positive impact on their displays and replacements must be found quickly. In the days before the tough opening vs. Manchester City Moyes is likely to complete several transfers. He is using his old connections and at the minute half a dozen Man United players are linked with moves to the club, amongst them Januzai and Fellaini. Moyes is also in an advanced stage of negotiating the permanent move of M’Vila, the centre midfielder that was very solid for the club all of last season will be an important signing. Sunderland are likely to continue using the 4-3-3 formation at the top of which operates Defoe. Borini, Watmore, Buckley and Lens are currently the wing options but an arrival of Januzai will likely make him a regular starter. Jan Kirchhoff’s January arrival for just half a million pounds proved a big hit, the German was officially the best holding midfielder in the Premier League in the spring. His tackling and air abilities make him a rock in front of the back four and this is likely to continue. Khazri was the other big winter signing and he will be the main playmaker of the team. Sunderland definitely need reinforcements in order to enjoy much calmer days ahead and Moyes publicly promised to deliver signings before the end of August. The gaffer was harshly treated during his time at United and now he will be eager to prove his critics wrong, which should see him using every bit of motivational skill he has in the dressing room. If he unites the group Sunderland can turn into one of the pleasant surprises this season, but if he fails the long coming relegation can be on its way.
Sunderland will want to finish higher than 15th this year and stay out of trouble for most of the campaign, but this could be possible only if new names are signed in the next few weeks.