Poyet’s revolution, but only after evolution.
Sunderland’s continued growth under Gus Poyet has been a real joy to behold for fans on Wearside, but as the club continue their evolution, it does however look like there may be further revolution to come this January.
November 29th, 2013
First of all he must continue to evaluate what he has in front of him, and with several contracts this summer expiring to some important role players at the club, it should be quite a tough call to make.
Keiren Westwood is one of them, having waited very patiently for his turn having been the understudy to Simon Mignolet for so long, this year was supposed to be his year.
Since his unfortunate injury at Hull City, Vito Mannone has been between the sticks and has proved every bit as capable, if not more so than Westwood, meaning it’s a very tough call for Poyet from the off.
An easier decision comes with the future of David Vaughan however, as with him already on loan at Nottingham Forest, it would be a huge surprise to see him ever return to Sunderland, perhaps only to collect his things and return to the Midlands.
Carlos Cuellar appears to have very little future at the club too, having only been involved on a limited basis.
Andrea Dossena is also an easy one to exit. He’s looked slow, sluggish and unfit in his fleeting appearances for us, and there’s a good argument to add in there ‘reckless’ after his sending-off at Hull City.
There’s also an even easier decision with the future of Jack Colback and for me, Seb Larsson. Colback is obviously a talented and versatile player who fits very well into the system. Larsson, for all his detractors, is an excellent squad player and is certainly worth keeping around.
Craig Gardner, Ji Dong-Won and Phil Bardsley however present some more difficult choices.
Gardner I like. He’s an honest working professional but it seems very difficult to see where he fits into a Gus Poyet team. His passing isn’t up to scratch despite his goalscoring threat. A January departure for him looks on the cards with West Bromwich Albion and Stoke City set to be circling.
I also think it’s time for the club to cut ties with Ji Dong-Won. I certainly wanted him to succeed at the club, and even more so after an impressive spell in the Bundesliga last season.
Turning down an offer in excess of £5m for him from Borussia Dortmund now looks foolhardy, but we should be able to at least get back what we paid for him in in January.
As much as I still dislike him for his previous indiscretions, he has played very well since coming back into the side under Poyet, and chipped in with important goals to boot.
That said, I’d still give him the boot, and it’s nothing to do with his misdemeanours.
What is ultimately the problem with Bardsley is that he’s a very limited player and we’ve seen this sort of resurgence in form before from him when he was last playing for a new contract. To give him an extension would be a bad move as we’ll go through the wringer once again in a years’ time, lamenting the fact we have to hold onto him for a further 2-3 years.
With only Colback and Larsson likely to be kept on for January and beyond, the club must look at some new blood.
Ki Seung-Yung is a no-brainer and simply must be signed, while Ondrej Celustka would be a decent addition to the squad as a whole. Fabio Borini, a derby-day hero, perhaps not so much.
Other than that though we have to add more quality. Some more midfielders who are capable of creating chances for a starved Steven Fletcher and Jozy Altidore has to be top of the list, closely followed by a new left-back.
There’s rumour abound that Poyet has his eyes on some very tasty targets such as highly-touted Swiss left back Loris Benito and Inter’s Zdravko Kuzmanovic; both of whom would fit the bill perfectly at the club.
However overall, for all the evolution Poyet has provided, it looks as though there’ll be a lot of transfer activity at Sunderland in January and in the following summer.
Unlike under previous stewardship, it looks as though a style template has been set for the club, and players will be brought in to fit that. I can’t honestly recall that at the club for a long time, and I’m sure it will be a success.