Sam Allardyce has provided an update on Sunderland’s pre-season preparations, talking new contracts, departures and the transfer market.
The Black Cats boss is currently overseeing the club’s initial preparations with a training camp to Austria next on the agenda, with a trip to France and highly-anticipated clash with Borussia Dortmund preceding an opening-day trip to Manchester City.
The close season has seen Vito Mannone, Patrick van Aanholt and Jermain Defoe commit their futures to the club, with the trio once again expected to play a key role having impressed during the 2015-16 season.
And with the squad starting to take shape, Allardyce shared his thoughts on incomings, outgoings and renewals.
“I’ve not signed any of the free transfer or loan players yet because that can be done later on,” explained Allardyce. “I’m focusing on the top players I need for the team this year and waiting patiently to get those.
“Where are we going to spend our money and who are we going to spend it on – let’s focus on that first rather than taking a player here or a player there – because we want to get players who are going to go straight into the first team and make an impact.”
He continued: "The leading goalscorer has signed for another year and so has Patrick, who has listened and learned in my short tenure and become our most consistent player, and a leading goalscorer.
“For me it was a little bit of a gamble to let Costel Pantilimon go and give Vito his chance, while bringing in young Jordan Pickford, who had never played in the Premier League, but in the end all that worked very well, as did the new signings.
“That is why we ended up only losing one of the last 11 games, so we’re in a very good frame of mind and we need to take that mind-set and those performances into the new season.”