They may not have the spending power that Manchester United or Manchester City can boast, but Sunderland have been the most active team in the transfer market this summer.
John O’Shea is on Wearside ahead of a medical this afternoon and the Manchester United utility player looks set to become Steve Bruce’s seventh summer signing, but the Sunderland manager won’t stop there.
Back in June Sunderland and Manchester United agreed a £12m deal for the sale of O’Shea, Wes Brown and Darron Gibson, and Brown is also en route to Wearside ahead of a medical.
Gibson is still prepared to fight for his Manchester United career and is thought to be reluctant to a move away, but Manchester United are willing to sell and if you’re not in Sir Alex Ferguson’s plans, it’s time to leave.
Newcastle have also expressed an interest in Gibson but the fact a former Manchester United player is in charge at Sunderland, coupled with the fact he will join two of the characters in the Manchester United changing room at Sunderland should sway Gibson’s mind.
His medical at Sunderland can only be a matter of days away and by this time next week, Bruce will have at least nine new players on his books.
Connor Wickham, Sebastian Larsson, Craig Gardner will join O’Shea and Brown at pre-season training along with goalkeeper Keiren Westwood, striker Ji Dong-won and winger Ahmed Elmohamady who was on loan at Sunderland last season.
Sunderland were hit hard by injuries last season and having lost Danny Welbeck and Jordan Henderson, Bruce has had to strengthen his squad.
Wickham and Dong-Won are exciting signings but scoring goals was Sunderland’s problem last season – only West Ham, Wigan and Birmingham scored less – and it’s unlikely that the youngsters are going to chip in with 10-15 goals in their first season.
Bruce has added experience, class and potential to the Sunderland squad, but unless he brings in a striker capable of replacing Darren Bent, the Black Cats are in for another season of mediocrity.