Chris Young: Sunderland's summer business should begin to hot up next week

The din made by celebratory Sunderland supporters at Vicarage Road rang in the ears for several hours after the final whistle had sounded on the 2015-16 campaign.

Friday, 24th June 2016, 12:08 pm
Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce.

No one could begrudge them the chance to party after a season overwhelmingly consumed by the anxiety of relegation ultimately concluded with Premier League survival and the relegation of Sunderland’s nearest and dearest.

And boy did they party. Fabio Borini’s bid to occupy a spot in the away end was swiftly abandoned when he was mobbed before even entering a turnstile.

But any Sunderland follower who pressed a temporary mute button on their club’s fortunes after that last day of the campaign has hardly missed a trick over the last month.

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The tumbleweed has been encircling the Stadium of Light... well, at least until the paraphernalia for Tuesday’s Beyonce concert began arriving earlier this week.

There’s been new contracts for Patrick van Aanholt and Jermain Defoe, both of which have largely been to deter other Premier League sides from turning heads, while the release of Danny Graham, Steven Fletcher, Wes Brown and Steve Harper created scant few murmurs of surprise.

Other than that though, transfer activity has been limited to a lot of talk - much of which has been public in the case of Emanuele Giaccherini.

The subdued current state of the market shouldn’t come as a shock. It’s the usual state of play whenever a major international tournament takes place, with managers, players and most crucially agents, all preoccupied.

The new television deal hasn’t helped either, with asking prices for Premier League targets at ludicrous levels at such a tender stage of the summer.

Sunderland are far from alone in being subdued.

Other than a couple of big-money moves from the Premier League’s heavyweights, there has barely been any movement throughout the top flight.

Even last season’s relegated trio - who have a huge amount of work to do to overhaul their squads with incomings and outgoings - have kept their powder relatively dry.

But from next week, the thermometer gauge will begin to gradually heat up.

Sam Allardyce will return to his desk at the Academy of Light eager to hasten the progress of new arrivals, so they can spend as much time as possible with their new team-mates in pre-season.

New chief executive Martin Bain will equally be keen to make his mark quickly, with the ex-Maccabi Tel Aviv man formally taking up his post on July 1.

And Sunderland’s players will begin to filter into training too, aside from the Euro 2016 trio of Seb Larsson, Emanuele Giaccherini and John O’Shea.

Some of the squad are due back next Friday to begin the round of post-close season fitness testing, with the bulk returning the following Monday, ahead of flying out to Austria for what promises to be an intense behind-closed-doors training camp.

There will be half-a-dozen or so returning faces that Allardyce would rather not have encountered again.

But every Premier League boss has similar challenges to offload those who aren’t part of their plans. It’s what prompts the wheels of business to gather momentum.

No manager wants to wait until the end of August to assemble the main building blocks of their side.

There may be one or two deals that drag on that long, but at least some of the pre-season friendlies need to involve building relationships with new players.

That is arguably more crucial to Allardyce than any of his Premier League peers, as he looks to avoid another desperate start to the campaign, which hamstrung Sunderland last time around.

Business needs to pick up and over the next week or two, it surely will do.