Sunderland play it cool on transfers, says Lee Congerton

Sunderland sporting director Lee Congerton is relaxed about the club's summer transfer business

The Stadium of Light, home of Sunderland AFC
The Stadium of Light, home of Sunderland AFC

Sunderland will not rush their summer transfer business, says Lee Congerton.

But working in tandem with head coach Gus Poyet, the Black Cats sporting director is “very confident” the club will be “competitive” when their new Premier League season gets under way at West Brom on August 16.

Already Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez and Costel Pantilimon have arrived at the Stadium of Light.

Sebastian Larsson and Jordan Pickford have signed new, long-term contracts.

And while Congerton says a previously successful commitment to making advantageous use of the loan market will endure until such time as the club’s academy provides a reliable supply of owned talent, Sunderland will tread carefully through this summer’s transfer window.

Under former director of football Roberto Di Fanti, chief scout Valentino Angeloni and head coach Paolo Di Canio, the Wearside outfit famously signed 14 senior players last summer.

Few have proved a success, leading to the departure of all three backroom staff officials and the appointment, first of Poyet then of Congerton.

And the latter last night told the club’s official website, “The market is out there, it’s working, people are out doing business and everything is being done behind the scenes.

“Everything’s ongoing but at the end of the day we’re in no rush. We want to sign the right players.

“We don’t want to sign players for the sake of it because that can cause problems later on.”

Congerton added: “Obviously last year the club did very well with loans and we’ll go into the loan market again.

“Hopefully in years to come the loan market won’t be as important as it is today and we’ll have more players who’ve come out from the academy or belong to Sunderland AFC.”

While Sunderland await results of a scan on Jozy Altidore’s hamstring – which the striker pulled during the USA’s World Cup Group G win over Ghana on Monday – Congerton believes the squad will benefit from a full pre-season under Poyet.

“Pre-season is so important for any coach or manager,” he said.

“Gus has ideas and strategy and a way of playing. He understands how he wants to play and gets his message across.

“He creates practices for the players, but they’re always specific to how he wants to play, not just with the ball but without it and in transition.

“I’m very confident that Gus will shape our team into a competitive side for next season. We’re looking forward to it. There’s a massive challenge for us and there’s no easy games, but we’re going the right way.”

Meanwhile, Pantilimon - who has agreed a four-year deal with the Black Cats - has warned fellow goalkeeper Vito Mannone: “I said when I left City that I am here to play and help this team.

“I know Vito is a great keeper. We will fight to help this team, which is the most important thing.

“This is a very important move for me.”


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer