Sunderland boss explains key to new investment in players this summer

Chris Coleman looks on as Kazenga LuaLua goes onto the pitch as a sub.
Chris Coleman looks on as Kazenga LuaLua goes onto the pitch as a sub.

Chris Coleman has called for “intelligent investment” in the Sunderland squad this summer - and to put an end to transfer market gambles.

Owner Ellis Short is looking to sell Sunderland, on the brink of relegation to League One, and while there are several parties interested there remains great uncertainty heading into a pivotal summer.

Coleman says if there are to be new owners then the level of investment in the squad and bringing in the right type of players is key.

Sunderland’s squad lacks robust players, with Coleman unable to play a settled side in the battle for survival.

Robust checks and balances on new signings with no stone left unturned has to be the way forward, says Coleman.

Ahead of tonight’s game against Norwich City, Coleman said: “If someone new comes in, whoever comes in, it doesn’t matter how much money they are worth, what matters is how much money they are going to invest in the team.

“Forget the Premier League, to get back to this level if that is the case [relegation], that will be the interesting case.

“Are they prepared to put the club back in the Championship, if the worst happens?

“If they are serious about going to the Premier League, that is another question.

“Wolves have spent a staggering amount but it has paid off as they will be going up. I’m not saying that will be the case here.

“Whoever comes in, investment will have to be made but intelligent investment, not just throwing money at it and gambling.

“It is looking at the age of the players you sign, trying to build a team, rather than players in and players out, it will have to be intelligent investment.”

He added: “Whatever happens at the end of the season and I am hoping and praying that we are rebuilding from this division, if it is from the division below it is not the end of Sunderland AFC.

“It has to be the start of it, the start of something new.

“A lot will depend on who owns the club, and that is the uncertainty we are dealing with.”

Coleman admits to have been frustrated and alarmed in equal measure at the amount of changes forced upon him when it comes to team selection.

When asked if the lack of robustness in the squad will shape recruitment going forward, Coleman added: “To sign a player at this club, it is about me being in someone’s front room and finding out everything.

“It has been a case of ‘we can’t play him both games this week’, I have found that very frustrating and alarming where we are at this football club.

“Physically, the demands the squad haven’t been capable of reaching the necessary levels, that robustness. In any league you need it.

“Any players we sign going forward, we have to do as many checks, personality wise, physical levels, how many games they have played, we have to do everything.

“We must never be in this position again. You don’t have to be if you do your home work on players and don’t gamble on signings, that is what happens, you wait and then we can’t get this one so end up with a player you wouldn’t normally go for.

“Inevitably if you look at their playing record they break down because they have before. It happened in the transfer window, late deals.

“Other players, when we looked at their injury history we couldn’t take the gamble because they wouldn’t last. In for two games and then out for five, you end up going round in circles.”

Several of the signings in recent windows have struggled to put together a run of games this season, Jonny Williams, Marc Wilson and Kazenga LuaLua - yet to start a game - to name three.

Given the lack of investment from Short for new signings, just £1.25million spent in two windows since relegation from the Premier League, Simon Grayson and Coleman have had to settle for free agents, loan signings and low-cost additions.

Coleman added: “Kaz hadn’t been playing at Brighton then came to us and got injured, he is always playing catch-up.

“When you are in that cycle, as a club, it is hard to break it and sometimes it takes something drastic and unthinkable before you bottom out and then you go ‘right, lets put everything in place properly and build a more robust team.’

“I’m one of Jonny [Williams’] biggest fans, I gave him his Wales debut, he is a terrific little player.

“His problem is playing games week-in, week-out. He has had such a hard time with injuries. He has to prove he can play in a team throughout a season. It has been stop-start. We have had too many of them, it is very tough.

“I remember playing Barnsley at home, there was a quick turnaround but for them as well and they ran all over us. They had more legs than us.

“We couldn’t match them. It is not just the Championship, these are physically tough leagues and you need bodies and personalities that can deal with all those questions. “We have struggled with that.”