Chris Waugh believes Sunderland’s model of signing young stars who will develop into top players is a risky one to deploy.
Sunderland have had multiple hits in the transfer market as of late with the likes of Amad Diallo, Ellis Simms, Patrick Roberts and Jack Clarke, with the Black Cats jumping out of League One and now with a chance of finishing in the play-offs this season.
A lot of those players they’ve had success with have dropped down from the Premier League, but they are all young players that may well feel they have something to prove and want to develop.
Therefore, Sunderland are indeed setting out a clear plan for Tony Mowbray and beyond of wanting to sign young players who may have been discarded by bigger clubs and hope they can develop them into quality players.
However, Waugh has issued a word of caution to Kyril Louis-Dreyfus over this model on BBC Total Sport, as should players not develop as planned, things could go south quickly.
He said: “I just think there are so many clubs that are in similar situations to Sunderland or Ross Stewart, where they do look at it, and it is about the wider business plan.
“There are a lot of clubs now who are operating in such a way so they bring on players, they’re developing them and then they move them on.
“The risk with that model is that if you have such a high turnover of players because you have to keep doing that, eventually, someone probably isn’t going to produce and develop in the way that you want them to.
Will Sunderland sign anyone this month?
“So it’s a very delicate balancing act, because you don’t want to put yourself in a difficult financial position, but also, you’re not going to get every single one right if you keep that high turnover of player.”
TIF Thoughts on Sunderland’s transfer strategy…
As things stand, Sunderland are likely to be very content with their transfer model and how it has put them in a spot to potentially secure a return back to the Premier League, but Waugh’s message should be heard on Wearside.
Sunderland have a boatload of young stars that have done well and managed to step up from League One into the Championship such as Roberts, Clarke and Dennis Cirkin, but the concern will arrive when someone is brought in who can’t develop at the level required.
If Sunderland were to recruit further young players this month for their play-off push, it would be a further risk, as there are no guarantees they take to life on Wearside and Mowbray could be left with youngsters who aren’t good enough and taking up valuable spots in the squad, while also eating up the club’s wage bill.