BLOG: Early transfer window thoughts, from Ed Syers

Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Logically, if something doesn’t work, it makes sense to change things around. But what do you call it when you recognise a problem, change things around, and get the same results anyway? You call it Sunderland’s transfer policy.


I feel like I’ve been saying it for ages now, but we never seem to have a really good transfer window. From Roy Keane’s overspending to the unspeakable summer of Paolo Di Canio and Roberto Di Fanti (and Steve Bruce slotting nicely in between), I can’t think of many successful transfer windows in recent years.


Look at West Ham, for example. Sam Allardyce is, quite rightly, praised for the work he’s done at Upton Park – turning the Hammers from relegation candidates to European outsiders in the space of a year is no mean feat. But ultimately, it’s the fact that their summer signings have gelled and adapted to the league almost immediately. And that, quite simply, involves a big slice of luck.


Football has reached an era where the transfer market is almost as important as tactics and training, and it only seems right that the people in charge of our signings often come under scrutiny – sometimes more than the manager. And this season, there were a lot of eyes on Lee Congerton.


It was certainly a more sensible summer than in previous years, but nothing to set the world alight. I was really excited when we signed Jack Rodwell from Manchester City – a young player with plenty of potential, and hungry to play games. I’m certain he’ll come good, but I honestly expected him to have made more of an impact this season. Jordi Gomez has proven that he’s good for a few goals, but the success story of the summer has to be in defence.


We brought in Billy Jones, Santi Vergini, Patrick van Aanholt and Anthony Reveillere for the combined fee of £1.5m. Add Costel Pantilimon to the list, a free transfer himself, and that represents some pretty shrewd business.


You tend to find bargains like that at the end of each season, but the same can’t really be said about the January window. While we’re all hoping for a player to come in and transform our season, we’re usually disappointed. The most excited I remember being in recent years was when we pulled off the double signing of Stephane Sessegnon and Sulley Muntari. Sess went on to be a bit of a cult hero (for me anyway!), but in all honesty, neither had a massive impact on the second half of the season.


Last year it was Nacho Scocco and Liam Bridcutt. The year before that was Danny Graham. Let’s hope we have a bit more success this time around.


Ed Syers