There was one major arrival at the Stadium of Light this summer. Sadly Bruce Springsteen’s skills are more suited to producing stadium rock anthems than keeping a midfield ticking over and outside of that, it’s been pretty quiet. Craig Gordon has been released on a free. Nicklas Bendtner and his Paddy Power Lucky Pants have returned to Arsenal. Carlos Cuellar has been snapped up on a free from Aston Villa. Told you it was quiet.
Something to be positive about
The guts of the squad that performed brilliantly at times last season remains and there’s every chance Bendtner will be back before the transfer window slams shut. The players will get the benefit of basking in Martin O’Neill’s motivational greatness for an entire pre-season so hopefully that will translate into a more consistent performance.
Something to be a bit worried about
The honeymoon period that began when Martin O’Neill took over in December lasted a while, but it seemed to come to a shuddering halt in the last couple of months of the season. The Black Cats ended the season without a win in their last eight Premier League matches. It could have been the players thinking a little too hard about their summer holidays having avoided relegation, but there’s a chance Martin’s miracles aren’t working as well as they used to.
An optimistic season bet
After getting his first pre-season with Sunderland, you’d expect O’Neill will have his team more organised and Martin O’Neill-like for the new season. It would require some sudden improvement, but 10/1 to win the Betting without the Big Six isn’t totally outlandish.
A more realistic season bet
Carlos Cuellar (Aston Villa, free)
Packing their bags
Craig Gordon (released)
Jordan Cook (released)
AsamoahGyan (Al Ain undisclosed fee)
George McCartney (West Ham, undisclosed)
Marcos Angeleri (Estudiantes, undisclosed)
Michael Turner (Norwich, undisclosed)