On Thursday, Sunderland appointed Simon Grayson as their new boss on a three-year deal. The Black Cats had been searching for a new boss since David Moyes left the club earlier this summer.
Grayson is a brave man stepping into the mess that is Sunderland at the minute.
However, the former Preston boss’ arrival at the club may just give the clubs fans hope of a brighter future.
Squad will see massive change
Last season’s Sunderland squad were not equipped to stay in the Premier League. Some were saying they had a Championship squad in the Premier League. The theory will be put to the test next season when the club are in the second tier.
The inevitable happened early in the summer. Star performers Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe have left joining Everton and Bournemouth respectively to stay in the Premier League. The pair was never likely to stay at the club following last season’s nightmare campaign.
Italian forward Fabio Borini has held talks with AC Milan over a move, which would be a very strange move on the Rossoneri’s part considering the forward’s form in recent seasons.
The first thing Grayson needs to look at is clearing the club of deadwood and attempting to strengthen the team ahead of the campaign. The strengthening bit may not be so easy, as Black Cats owner Ellis Short seems to have stopped giving the club his financial backing.
Short recently pulled the plug on a £100million takeover deal. It seems the clubs best hope is if Short sells up and new owners actually back the boss. However, I doubt many Black Cats fans are holding their breath on that happening.
Grayson can work on a budget
It is fair to say that Sunderland are a bigger club than Preston North End, although it could be argued Preston have a far more illustrious history. The Lancashire club have been fighting above their financial weight for the four years that Grayson has been in charge.
Grayson guided North End to promotion from the League One before two 11th place finishes in the Championship. In terms of budgets, Preston had one of the smallest in the second tier along with the likes of Rotherham and Burton Albion. However, they are a very well run club.
There is no doubt about Simon Grayson’s managerial skill is one of the main reasons that Preston are now established in the Championship. Working on budget will be an invaluable skill at Sunderland. Short’s disinterest in the club is likely to mean little to spend in the transfer market
Whether Grayson will see any of the money received from the sale of highly rated goalkeeper Jordan Pickford is unclear. If the 47-year-old is backed in the transfer market then he should be successful at the north east club.
Until Sunderland have a new owner, though, Grayson is a safe pair of hands to keep the Black Cats from sinking to even further depths.
Stability the key for Grayson next season
Simon Grayson has taken a big gamble by stepping away from the stability of Preston to join a club in such upheaval. The new Black Cats first priority is to steady the ship. That means attempting to put together a team from the squad that suffered relegation last season.
Some have talked about promotion. However, that would be optimistic, to say the least. Sunderland’s odds of 11/2 for promotion tells me that the bookmakers do not believe that the Black Cats are capable of bouncing straight back into the Premier League. Most fans are probably realistic enough to know that.
Sunderland have been down before and influential bosses’ have been able to revive them. In Simon Grayson, they have a boss who has a decent track record and who is obviously up for a challenge.
The former Preston boss may take time to sort the mess out at Sunderland. However, I do think that he could prove to be a very good appointment for the Black Cats. The Sunderland team will show far more effort and passion next season that is for sure.
Can Simon Grayson sort out the mess at Sunderland?
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