Sunderland boss Lee Johnson reveals transfer latest as Cats target striker and defenders

Lee Johnson says that Sunderland will be patient in a 'tough' transfer market this summer, but insists that the club will get the additions they need.
Sunderland boss Lee Johnson at TynecastleSunderland boss Lee Johnson at Tynecastle
Sunderland boss Lee Johnson at Tynecastle

The Black Cats stepped up their pre-season preparations with a 2-0 win at Tynecastle on Saturday, a game in which Callum Doyle and Corry Evans made their first appearances.

Alex Pritchard was missing after testing positive for COVID-19 and while Johnson's options in forward areas are now much improved, there remain some clear gaps in the squad.

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Full-backs remain a clear concern, even if Denver Hume appears to be closer to agreeing a new deal.

Johnson is expected to try and sign another central defender, while Charlie Wyke is yet to be replaced.

The head coach says a number of factors have created a challenging market, but insists the club's patience will be rewarded.

"We've got a bit to do, no doubt about it," he said.

"It has been a tough market and I think we've done exceptionally well with what we've done.

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"You say three signings but I 100% see it as five with McGeady and O'Nien, because they were in the open market.

"But we still have a lot of work to do, we know that.

"We clearly need a left back, a right back. We have got players who can play there, but we don't want to take players away from their natural position.

"We know that.

"It has been a tough market because you've got GBE to account for, which means foreign players that used to be available are not.

"Then you've got the Premier League purchases, if you like, from the U23s and the lads who've been out on loan. We're willing to pay fees for these players but they often come with extremely high wages and often aren't willing to take a drop.

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"Then you've got the talented players from lower levels who now command higher fees because they're English, and we do the same with any of our young English players.

"The pool of players is then quite small. You've got to get the right ones and we will get them, no doubt about it.

"I would rather wait, be patient, and capitalise when there's an opportunity, and have some funds in the kitty for when really good opportunities become available as they will."

Asked if new additions were close, he said: “We're in the mix for a lot of things.

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"I do think the Euros have knocked things back a couple of weeks. It is a domino effect and the Premier League teams have pre-season fixtures they need to fulfill, and a lot of senior players resting.

"So they use their young players, like us, and then the first moves filter down. Every transfer has a ripple effect and it has started, no doubt about that.

"In an ideal world, you come in day one of pre-season and you have all your players in position," Johnson added.

"We're not going to overspend and some teams have done that to have players in early.

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"What I won't do is give an excuse before the season starts, we'll go into the season ready and prepared. There might be players playing who are unexpected, because of that, so it therefore comes to me to make the right decision."