Saturday, May 26, 2018

Lack of squad depth could spell disaster for Sunderland

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 11 Aug 2016

Sunderland boss David Moyes has a rather small squad at his disposal

Sunderland boss David Moyes has a rather small squad at his disposal

Sunderland have been the perennial survivors of the Premier League in recent years.

Each season the Black Cats flirt with relegation, only to pull away at the dying embers of the campaign.

This season under David Moyes it could be just as tough to survive the drop, as their squad was light when the Scot arrived at the Stadium of Light.

Moyes has since added defensive reinforcements in Papy Djilobodji, Paddy McNair and Donald Love.

However, the Black Cats need more than just those three additions to improve their fortunes for the new campaign, especially as a number of their perceived arrivals have strengthened their squads.

Moyes has to be admired

David Moyes is a guy that deserves admiration, maybe not for his short disastrous stint at Manchester United, but for how he turned Everton around.

The feelings towards the Scot amongst the Toffees are mixed. When he arrived the Merseysiders were a side that were involved in regular relegation scraps. Slowly but surely he turned the Toffees into a team more accustomed to the top six than the bottom six of the Premier League.

He managed to compete for a top-six place against the financial odds. He bought wisely, well most of the time (let’s not talk about Per Kroldrup). The likes of Tim Howard, Leighton Baines, Tim Cahill and Mikel Arteta were bought by Moyes and proved to be great servants to the Toffees.

The likes of Joleon Lescott and John Stones were also bought by Moyes and sold to the extreme financial benefit of the club. Thanks, David Moyes.

He was often accused of caution in the transfer market, but in truth, he could not afford to get things wrong when signing players, because quite simply the club could not afford costly mistakes.

Moyes choose to move to Manchester United in 2013 to attempt to test himself on a bigger stage in the Champions League, something that the Toffees restrictive budget could not provide him with. Some Evertonians are still miffed about the move.

He failed to resurrect a team on the downturn following Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement and was sacked after less than a year in charge of Old Trafford. He then endured a mixed 18 months at Real Sociedad, where he left in December of last year.

The squad needs strengthening

Players are still thin on the ground at Sunderland, not quite as bad as Hull, but still, the Black Cats need to strengthen their squad and quickly. A mass exodus this summer has left the team slightly short of cover in all areas.

A number of the players that left the Black Cats in the summer will not be missed. Maybe it could be seen as a fresh start for the club from the north east. However, Moyes and the Sunderland supporters must now be concerned about their squad depth.

The potential departure of highly-rated French centre-back Lamine Kone would not help the issue, although it seems Moyes has covered that possibility by his recent signings.

The 27-year-old only arrived in January but played a key role in the team staying up last season. He is looking for a new contract but is reported to have a contract offer from Everton, after the two clubs agreed a fee of around £18million for the centre-back. The defender would be a big loss.

Could this finally be the season they go down?

I like David Moyes and Sunderland are a likeable enough club, but the lack of depth is a major worry for the Black Cats. The side from the north east is odds of 5/2 to be relegated in the new campaign. The odds are understandable considering the Black Cats poor campaigns in recent years.

The north east club have a difficult start to the campaign, as they visit Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City on the opening day of the campaign.

Sunderland have a habit of enduring poor starts and hiring new bosses mid-season. It would be a surprise if Moyes was sacked as early as some of the previous incumbents, but it will be a hard campaign for the Black Cats.

If Moyes can have the same steadying effect as he had at Everton, then the Black Cats may be in for a far brighter future. However, that will only be achieved if the Scot can make more signings before the transfer window shuts.

Could this be the season that Sunderland goes down?


David Nugent

David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The experienced writer has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.



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