Sunderland added Wigan playmaker Jordi Gomez to Billy Jones in their swag bag of summer free transfers following the expiration of the Spaniard’s contract at the DW Stadium.
The cause of such thriftiness is probably a by-product of the monster spending spree Gus Poyet’s predecessor, Paolo Di Canio, embarked upon last term, but recruits of this ilk will ensure the Black Cats fare better once the music restarts.
A price of 7/2 is available for optimistic Wearsiders who think their candy-striped heroes will finish the forthcoming campaign in the top-half of the top tier to devour and the way they signed off on 2013/14 suggests they’re in with a shout of achieving it.
It can be argued the plight from which they narrowly escaped last time around can be blamed on their downright mental recruitment strategy in the close season, where an eye-watering 14 players arrived at the Stadium of Light.
Nametags were an essential in and around the training ground for several months and the detriment to the Capital One Cup finalist’s performances was obvious – they lost two thirds of their opening 15 league matches.
A figure comfortably north of the £20m mark was squandered in transfer fees alone that summer, with three of those enlisted shipped out by the new regime in the January transfer window.
In addition to the lack of cohesion a complete squad overhaul caused, the biggest issue they had was that only four of those to flock to the north east had sampled the rigours of the Premier League prior to inking their Black Cats contract.
One of these was Jozy Altidore, whose experience in the English top-tier should’ve acted as enough of a deterrent against paying £6m for his services, but Di Canio was not to be swayed.
Clearly Poyet doesn’t want to get caught out in the same way, opting against flashy signings from the continent in favour of some course and distance top-flight runners in Jones and Gomez, which will serve Sunderland well in their endeavours to have a comfortable season that doesn’t entail any white-knuckle, drop-defying exploits.