Why recruiting better is the key to Sunderland emulating David Moyes' success at Everton
David Moyes is a man whose public perception is still shaped by a tumultuous year at Manchester United.
On Wearside, however, his 11 years on Merseyside is still the dominant theme, a source of frustration at what has happened this season and hope for what could still happen in the future.
Everton finished 17th in his second season, escaping the drop by the skin of their teeth before moving on to better things.
Reluctant generally to talk about the past, Moyes knows the comparisons with the situation he inherited in Sunderland are inescapable.
So what is the key to matching that fruitful period? For Moyes, the big challnge is recruiting better, citing a plethora of players who terrorised Sunderland over the years.
Moyes said: “At Everton, there was a quite a good senior group of players, over the years we were able to bring in Tim Cahill, Andy Johnson, Mikel Arteta, Steven Pienaar, Jagielka, Baines, Coleman, Neville. You could go on and on.
“That recruitment is probably the reason why Everton went on to be in the strong position they’re in today.”
Parachuted into the Sunderland hotseat just weeks before the season started, Moyes has previously admitted that the club were left miles behind their rivals in scouting and recruitment, turning to a number of players he he has worked with before to add short-term depth to an ailing squad.
The challenge now is to mine the continent and lower leagues as he did on Merseyside, with the club known to be scouting in preparation for all eventualities between now and the end of the season.
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The Black Cats watched Gent in action against Tottenham, believed to be tracking Nigerian youngster Moses Simon, while Moyes is eager to find British talent outside the Premier League who can make an impact at a lower cost.
If he can find them, the Scot is confident that he can find long-term success on Wearside.
For the big advantage he sees Sunderland have over the Everton side he inherited is a Premier League infrastructure across the board.
Moyes said: “One of the main reasons I did draw comparisons when I came here to Sunderland was that I knew there was a job to be done, to be turned around.
“I could see a big similarity with Everton, in the league position, but what Sunderland had already was an infrastructure, a great stadium.
“One of the main reasons I came to Sunderland was because I knew that we get over 40,000 every week.
“Everton are still looking to rebuild Goodison or get away to a new stadium, and Sunderland had that in place, a really good training ground, whereas at Everton we were still waiting to move into Finch Farm.
“In many ways, Sunderland were ahead of it with what we had, but we had to do was look to rebuild and I found different problems since I’ve come, things that have built up over the years.”