2016-17 Season - January to May
In the last post, I was beckoning towards my second transfer window as Sunderland manager. My starting CBs were about to embark on the AFCON, leaving me with O'Shea & Lescott as my only fit natural centre backs. With Paddy McNair & Jan Kirchoff as suitable back up as required.
Not being happy with my centre back choosings, I brought in Norwich Centre Back Ryan Bennett on loan. With this Lescott came up to me asking to be sold or he would kick up a fuss. So I released Lescott as it suited both parties to the ground.
There were two more players shown the door in January as Vitor Mannone left to join Lyon for £1.6m and Darren Gibson left for Celtic on loan with a view to a permanent deal after 10 games.
The FA Cup was a short campaign as we got knocked out against West Brom, personally I was sort of relieved as it would mean we could rest players later down the line. Especially West Brom as they are in a relegation dog fight.
The rest of the premiership season played out like this (Link);
The second half of the season couldn't have got any worse, with two points in eight games. It looked like we were about to be pulled into a relegation dog fight. The board was starting to get on my case and the injuries never looked like going away.
However a strong end of the season meant the table looked like this.
If you would have asked me if we could get out of the relegation zone this season, I would have been a liar if I told you I could. At points this season I thought we were destined to get relegated with the squad we had. Now I get the chance to build the squad for my second in the Premiership.
Here are my player stats for the season;
With this here are my top 3 players of the season;
3) Lamine Kone & 2) Papy Djilobodji - I'm going to do these together as they both just as important as the other. When these two left for the African Cup of Nations we really felt it. None of our other CBs could cope with the Premiership, and it took them to the end of February to become effective again due to needing rest.
1) Andrea Poli. What can I say? Poli has been an amazing signing for me this season, the box to box midfielder is our record goal scorer with 8 goals, has the most MOTM of the Premier League with 8, and has played every game of this season without even picking up a niggle. It's safe to say I will be building my squad next season around the above 3 players.
The board offered me a new 3 year deal which I gladly accepted, and they have given my a provisional budget of £26m and £1.2m p/w on wages.
I have already moved on the deadwood of Kirchoff, O'Shea and Seb Larrson on free transfers. Joey O'Brien, Ronaldinho & Drogba have left the club as well after their contracts expiring. Other transfer dealings include Darron Gibson turning his loan move to a permanent on at Celtic, and newly promoted Brentford have taken under-achieving Fabio Borini off my hands for £2m. This has given me £520k available on the wage budget, a lot of room for manoeuvring.
The only other players I would consider selling this season are Billy Jones and Lee Cattermole, Billy Jones hasn't impressed this season and Lee Cattermole has been suspended for too many games. This and I am going to try and get rid of the DM and insert a AMC into the team to hopefully help Defoe and build on our 10th place finish.
The only player I have brought in so far is French Centre Back Nicolas Isimat-Marin. He comes from PSV Eindhoven as cover, he has been signed for £2m and I have been impressed in the games I've seen of him this season.
The board want me to sign younger players for the first team, I know the future stars will be out of my reach but I'm going to have a look in the Championship and see if there are any young players that are Premiership quality.
Until next time..