Transfer Window Expectations
It seems that Sunderland fans can not expect a summer like any of the last three after manager Steve Bruce revealed that he did not expect a busy summer in the transfer market.
That should not worry supporters too much however, as the last few pre-seasons have been hugely active and possible reasons for the side's inconsistencies.
Bruce himself has gone on record and indicated that he felt that he had maybe brought in too many players to gel quickly and that it may have had a knock on effect after the initial season kick off.
The question that Brice will be asking himself now though, is whether to strengthen his squad before the World Cup or after it. Clubs have been burned in the past when they have identified a target months ahead of a summer tournament, only for the player to perform well and hike up their transfer fee by a few million.
Karel Poborsky was one such example of this. Manchester United had earmarked the $2.5m rated Czech Republic winger as a replacement for Andrei Kanchelskis in 1996, only for Poborsky to inspire his Czech team mates to a highly successful Euro 96 campaign, losing in the final to Germany. His impact on his side cost United an extra $2m and he never rediscovered the flashy form that he had shown during the summer.
Another player worth noting is Andrei Arshavin. Whilst most top clubs were aware of his ability due to Zenit St.Petersburg's Uefa Cup run two seasons ago, it was his Euro 2008 form that doubled his transfer fee and probably trebled his weekly expectations.
So what is a manager to do?
I suppose that it would be beneficial to a manager with a target in mind, that their country are not involved in this summer's World Cup. This way, there is nothing to change a valuation and the player is fully rested for the new season. But if targets are going to be involved in South Africa, then a decision to speed up the negotiations may be made.
Whatever the case, whilst this summer may not be as 'exciting' as the last few......it is probably more important than all of them in terms of taking the 'next step' that Quinn and co. keep talking about.