Sunderland scouting Germany, Belgium, France transfer markets

Kristjaan Speakman has detailed Sunderland’s scouting strategy ahead of the January transfer window.

Since his appointment as sporting director, Speakman has overseen an overhaul of Sunderland’s recruitment strategy, with an emphasis on extending the club’s scouting network.

Black Cats co-owner Juan Sartori has connections to football clubs in South America and Europe and has been pictured on scouting missions in various locations. The Uruguayan remains one of the shareholders at Sunderland, where he owns 20 per cent, but was appointed vice-president of AS Monaco last year.

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Sunderland have targetted players from different markets in recent transfer windows, with Speakman, alongside the club’s head of recruitment Stuart Harvey, turning to Costa Rica to sign Jewison Bennette during the summer window. The Black Cats were also boosted by the arrivals of Abdoullah Ba and Edouard Michut from France.

Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman

"South America is no different to Germany, Belgium, France or any other area we are currently scouting within – it is no different to other activities we are doing,” Speakman said when asked about scouting.

“I understand South America has got more media traction due to our ownership, but as Kyril said at last week’s fans forum, we are looking to utilise all of our contacts and networks in the game to expand our overall network and our understanding of player availability. You have seen this with some of the players the Club has signed.

“There are no official deals or partnerships in place, but we are trying to maintain informal communication with several parties to help us to be first to know when players become available.”