The Squad (or why on earth does Jermain Defoe think he can become a global brand)
Well honestly it’s not very good. Thank god Kevin Nolan is still available but I'm in despair that most of the lads from Bolton have retired super Kevin Davies has retired (NB as a Preston fan he tried but there was no end product to be seen in the final years of his career), Jussi has gone to Wigan (how the mediocre have fallen) and Ivan Campo retired 5 Years ago! it's going to be a struggle. The key i suppose to working out what you need is knowing what you have and what you are going to do with it.
So here goes...
Not the worst part of the team actually i will probably not have to do much here both are good enough for the premier league i'll probably leave the two to fight it out for the first season unless a bid comes in. Beyond Mannone and Pantilimon the club doesn't have a good third keeper at the club presently but young Jordan Pickford is a tremendous prospect (N.B no idea if he will be in game but as a Preston fan i can attest he has a massive future ahead and clubs like Southampton and Aston Villa are scouting him attentively) who is currently on loan at Preston and has nailed down a starting role and recently earned his first u21 cap he will hopefully feature for the club in the not too distant future.
Summary: strongest area of the team might sell one if a bid comes in to free up some funds but happy with this position for season one at the very least.
two stories here so i shall split it between centre backs and fullbacks.
OHH DEAR OHH DEAR OHH DEAR
attacking midfield may technically be the weakest area because we don't have any but in terms of which players are actively bad they are all here. Kaboul is playing like he spends most of the day in the red lion in a lesson of defending he can be used as a cautionary tale playing poorly Wes brown has more injuries than the black knight john O'Shea used to be okay in a time long forgotten by most Coates had a good 16 minutes of football once at what is now a mid table team in the north west called Liverpool against an even more obscure London team called Q.P.R, a team who have made Greece’s debt issues seem conservative. Vergini is out on loan but when here all i can say is that if the titanic had the same pace and turning circle all the ice in the world would of melted prior to him getting anywhere near Newfoundland. I know nothing about Roberge... i think he has a left foot and that is probably enough to get him into my team currently. He's french and never played much... at least he hasn't played a lot but badly i suppose.
(N.B I am a PNE fan and Billy Jones won't have anything bad said about him)
actually not terrible... at this point I cheer and shout to the people of Sunderland there are people that border on mediocre and may push beyond Huzzah (in a dudlian? accent of course)
However i will concede we have 3 right back's and one left back which needs work Billy jones is a hero with hair like a Greek deity but injuries which would confuse Asclepios. Mathews is okay will do a job pushing Billy Jones on. Yedlin is quick and American and on loan from Tottenham ... right that's me done.. oh he sometimes has a silly haircut. Patrick Van Aanholt is talented to my mind and will nail down the left back position for the first season. (nothing to do with him being the only player in the position)
broadly speaking our fullbacks are the more attacking variety all have okay pace and can produce for us especially as i intend to use wing backs at least some of the time.
our defense needs work but not many of the players can be liquidated due the fact some foolish person just signed them all. Of those that can be sold I will probably try to although I don't anticipate an easy job moving them on O’Shea, Brown and Roberge may be sold and if push comes to shove so will Billy Jones (Noo!!) At least 2 Centre backs are needed and a left back would be a valuable addition although preferably on loan.
Ron Vlaar is still injured for a month, Ondrej Mazuch could be a valuable low cost addition with great experience English youngsters like Hause and Iorfa will be worth a look and naturally I’m sure there are 3 or 4 in Chelsea’s reserves.
Bridcutt, Cattermole and M'villa mean this is not a position in need of massive attention unless I can move some on. Bridcutt has not really stood out at the club nor does he have the excuse of being a young player at 26 he needs to be performing and making a difference on the pitch. He was linked with a number of moves over the summer but nothing materialized and again on loan when the emergency window opened but again nothing as of yet. Lee Cattermole the most telling thing I can say is that he was banned from pubs in Sunderland for 5 years... think that through. firstly I can imagine it's possible to get barred from a pub (I’ve seen it in sitcoms) but all pubs in all of Sunderland
you have to imagine he's taken the same senseless aggression he shows on the pitch and added a few rounds of tequila with absinthe chasers and gone on some hulk style rampage (N.B Cattermole is surprisingly good on FM I have seen him join Chelsea!) His passing isn't great he's a mental and last year he gets more cards than Clinton’s on delivery day. If he can be sold for a decent fee he will be.
The best playerish in the team for me Yann M’Villa almost as mad as Cattermole with gold teeth but he has great work rate and positional sense which when added to his ability to actually pass to someone in the shirt makes him pretty darn ideal for my team. His career has stalled since opting for the big money of Russia. But at 25 he can make amends for that and get on the right track here at Sunderland.
Meh Rodwell was good at some point but he's made out of papier-mâché if he's fit he's in Gomez, Larsson are aging and lack pace and I will be at the very least be trying to move them on. Toivonen (if he resembles the Toivonen of FM15) will not fit in my team more of a shadow striker than the playmaker I need to make this team score and stay up
This position is where recruitment is needed a Box to Box midfielder and an advanced playmaker/ roaming playmaker are needed to bring stability and creativity to this team
I feel I should leave this blank. Will Buckley is on loan at Leeds, Ricky Alvarez may or may not be at the club. I know he's been banned from going to South America but beyond that his fate is to be determined by FIFA and lawyers which is a shame because he would of fit nicely into my tactics. Errm Adam Johnson's fate is to be determined by lawyers and a judge so the less said here the better, he will technically be available and is technically one of the clubs best players and he technically probably can't be sold due to the whole legal thingy and he probably can't move from Sunderland but if i can i may... On a less contentious note we also have Jermain lens a versatile winger/striker with great pace signed by Dick Advocaat a player with ability and almost certain to grab a starting berth at least to begin.
At the very least we need a playmaker with pace power vision and passing if this wondrous player can be found and wants to come to Sunderland Huzzah. in terms of width it's looking like it will have to be provided by the full backs because like British politics 1997-2010 it's all in the centre not much on either wing.
Free transfers like Emmanuelson, Amalfitano and Schelotto might be targets along with loanees like Joel Campbell could do the job along with jury rigging Fabio Borini into a wider role. If money can be found then triggering the rumoured £3.7Million for Demari Gray would be money well spent.
Goals win games our goalscorers don't do either. Its an issue. Defoe has done okay and started the season well but his age, wages and PA search are all a concern. Steven Fletcher once had a season where he bordered on prolific. This was the opening joke at my one off stand up show. they thought i was absurd but it's true he once scored goals which places me in a bit of a pickle. To get the best of Defoe he needs a foil to create space and occupy defenders which in the abstract he can do but in reality he isn't good enough these days and like with Jardel at Bolton i think the free scoring days are behind him and no attempt on my part will get results
(NB when Jardel was at Bolton he was at the same gym as me watching him attempt to gain some semblance of fitness was amusing)
Borini will do a job; quick, versatile and can score goals et al so there is a glimmer of hope for him at least
Danny Graham is still at the club I know neither how to process this or what to do about it. I doubt he is saleable if he is he will be sold if not I can only imagine manning the concourse might be the best use of his talents
I’m undecided here if kept the options available they should do a job and part of me is inclined to let sleeping dogs lie. Defoe scores Goals Fletcher doesn’t but he works hard on the pitch and would help improve the contribution of Defoe. Borini ( NB personally a big fan on FM he has always consistently scored me plenty of goals) also has scored goals when playing consistently as he showed during his first spell at Sunderland. This all comes down to availability if there is a cheap player (Austin, Kokorin with expiring contracts or players of that level) then Defoe fletcher and graham will be moved on if not I’ll probably cry.
Well the team has half a spine and the sense of doom may be unwarranted if I can get them playing well and consistently with a few savvy additions, I may resist the urge to sign Kevin Nolan. We can actually have a relatively successful season ( by sunderlands standards at least)
will be retained unless a bid is received not much to say Pickford will play a role on his return
can’t be sold due to their recent arrival but if Wes Brown and O’Shea can make way and free up some wage bill then one or 2 wise additions could salvage the defense. Favourites as it stands include Ondrej Mazuch, concrete Ron, Grant Hanley or the young duo from wolves will be under consideration. For a potentially larger fee the impressive Eric Sviatchenko may also be under consideration.
Wing backs/Full backs
are at least of a competitive standard Billy Jones might make ways for another left back and to free up funds but apart from that not terrible.
is okay with one very good player if the others can’t be sold I’m Happy to keep them up to a point if they can be sold then I’m confident a competent understudy can be found with ease and minimal cost.
Rodwell is a keeper (well not literally he’s actually a midfielder) especially if fit, it’s worth remembering once in an England shirt nullified Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets the rest will likely depart so likely one other box to box midfielder will be needed at the least.
two players at present I am confident in this role one may be sold due to a moral stance. Two wingers needed and at least one AMC Loans may be key here.
either nothing or a complete overhaul
Youth beyond Pickford (who is great) and Watmore (who has a economics degree) I know nothing my guess is there is not a massive amount available currently this is a long term aim however so watch this space.