When we were relegated back in May, we had a squad that was depleted, lacked motivation and desire. With all this doom and gloom new boss Simon Grayson set about improving his squad with little funds he had at his disposal. He’s brought in seven players in total. We’re only four games into the season, including cup, but here’s how they have fared so far.
Not much was known about the young centre back when he signed on loan from Everton. He was part of a double deal from The Toffees, as Brendan Galloway made his way to Wearside too. Like most fans I went onto social media to see what the reaction was from Preston fans to see what their craic was. Their fans spoke overwhelmingly negatively about Browning, but, I think that was more to the fact they were pissed of we’d just nicked their manager. Browning played a big part in our average pre-season. But since the season proper began, Browning has been first choice centre half alongside Kone, ahead of Djilobodji and O’Shea, and has looked strong, quick and composed. So far, so good.
Galloway had made just seventeen appearances for The Toffees since 2014. Galloway started the Derby match in the left back position due to Oviedo being injured and allowed Bradley Johnson to score on the 11th minute. Galloway featured in our next three fixtures against Bury Norwich and Sheffield Wednesday. He’s quick going forward, is a hard worker but he seems to be still finding his feet at the moment. Defensive he’s a little weak and naïve but I’m sure Grayson’s working on that with him in training.
Signing players from League One was a dose of reality for fans used to watching Defoe bang in 15-20 goals a season, albeit for a team rooted to the bottom of the Premier League. Vaughan has started every single league game for us this season and is the hardest working player in the team already. He runs for ninety minutes and challenges for every ball. He’s also linked up well with Grabban. Strikers are judged on their ability to score goals though and Vaughan currently has yet to break his Sunderland duck. Hopefully he’ll grab a brace v Leeds on Saturday.
Grabban was signed on a season long loan from Bournemouth. The striker spent last season at Reading, but only managed to score three goals and make sixteen apearances in the league. But his start to the season at Sunderland could not have gone better. He looked fast and direct in the Derby match, scoring a penalty and then was unlucky not to score again when he hit the post in the second half. He scored two against Norwich and could have got a third. He seems to be clinical and calm in front of goal.
Steele was brought in after Jordan Pickford was signed by Everton and Vito Mannone went to Reading. Steele, like Grabban had some big shoes to fill. The fact he had an absolute shocker against Celtic didn’t fill exactly win us over. But since the season has started his performances have steadily improved. Still, after four starts he divides opinion amongst the fans, probably because he let in five against Celtic in a match that counted for nothing.
Ruiter joined us after being on trial and performed well in our pre-season games. Ruiter was unable to complete his move before the Derby fixture and still hasn’t featured in the first team this season.
McGeady is probably the biggest name to sign for Sunderland this summer (so far). He was the first player linked when Grayson became manager but it took a while for the move to become official. But we certainly got a good deal as it’s believed we paid just £250,000 for the Irish international. He’s started every game in the league and against Bury in the Carabao Cup this season and has looked skilful, quick and isn’t scared to make a tackle. He set up Grabban beautifully at Carrow Road, scored a cracker in the same game and crested George Honeyman’s goal against Sheff Wed.
Verdict: Grayson has done very well with the funds he been given. So far, he’s spent less than £2million and brought seven players into the club with six playing starting the first three league games. Grayson still has time to make more signings and improve the squad and we’ll just have to see what happens before the window closes. Fingers crossed…
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