Sunderland transfer news: Strategy for January revealed

Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman has hinted that Sunderland are set for a quieter January window this time around, but has confirmed that the club are assessing targets who can help the first team build on a promising first half of the campaign.

Sunderland are known to be looking for added depth in some key positions where they have been left short at times, with a holding midfielder and a striker likely to be high on the agenda.

While Sunderland will be active in the window, and Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has already said that there will be funds available for investment, Speakman told the recent supporter collective meeting that the aim was now to be 'more specific' after a period of adding key assets to the squad.

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"We have had a lot of activity in previous windows," Speakman is quoted as saying in the minutes of the meeting.

"Our objective now is to be more specific around first-team requirements, as we feel we have a number of players that can fulfil the duties required within the group. We have a plan in place for this winter and we have a plan in place for next summer, as well as a plan in place for the winter after.

"We will trade decisions in each of these windows depending on player availability and we have a transfer budget aligned to this for the next three seasons. There is a lot of clarity in place internally to make the club as efficient as possible.

"A player audit has been carried out with the coaching staff to assesses our current players to the profiles we have in place across the positions required. These profiles are then compared across the league – for example, how does our player compare to what a player in that position is doing at a top-six positioned club.

"When we return from the winter break, we will be focusing on our targets. When the window opens, we will get a clear idea on the availability of our targets and work to ensure that the squad is still evolving."

Kristjaan Speakman

Sunderland head coach Tony Mowbray echoed those comments on Thursday, telling The Echo that he did not expect a large number of signings next month.

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He also said a key part of the strategy was ensuring talented youngsters within the squad are getting the game time they need to develop, potentially opening the door to some loan departures.

"The squad is actually beefing up a bit with the injured players coming back and so as it stands, I don't see us going out and blitzing the window, bringing in four or five players," Mowbray said.

"We might cause ourselves problems doing that - unless we're bringing in players who are the underbelly if you like, whereby if players leave in the future we have their replacements already in the building and already working with us, understanding what we want and how we work."

You can read the full minutes from the meeting, including an update on Ross Stewart's contract talks - here.