Mon. Jul 22nd, 2024

Sunderland AFC has been busy finalising new contracts and eyeing future transfer prospects as they prepare for the upcoming season, with big moves and significant decisions on the horizon.

Short Summary:

  • Chris Rigg is set to sign his first professional contract creating a buzz around the team.
  • Sunderland’s transfer activities include interest in several promising strikers aiming to strengthen their forward line.
  • The club is emphasising infrastructure development to foster a conducive environment for success.

This offseason, Sunderland AFC fans have reasons to be excited as the team inches closer to some pivotal decisions regarding player contracts and transfer targets. The club is making strides not only in signing promising talents but also in enhancing its facilities and environment for the players. Sporting director Kristjaan Speakman recently spoke about these developments, reflecting the club’s forward-thinking ambition.

Firstly, the much-anticipated signing of Chris Rigg, the England youth international, is almost finalised. The 17-year-old, who recently turned eligible to sign professional terms with Sunderland, has been a central figure in the ongoing talks.

“There’s a real excitement around the club, internally and externally. This season, we have valid reasons to feel confident in our strategies and our squad,” stated Speakman in an interview.

Despite interest from leading Premier League clubs, Rigg has decided to commit his future to Sunderland under the new head coach, Regis Le Bris. With a three-year contract almost secured, Rigg’s signing could be a game-changer for the club, especially after impressive performances last season.

Search for New Forwards

The focus on enhancing the squad doesn’t stop at Rigg. Sunderland is looking to bolster its attacking options with seven strikers linked to the club. Key names being considered include:

  • Divin Mubama, who recently left West Ham United and seems to be considering European offers despite Sunderland’s interest.
  • Kieffer Moore, an instrumental figure in Ipswich’s promotion to the Premier League, though his future remains uncertain as he returns to Bournemouth for preseason.
  • Jay Stansfield, currently a top target for Hull City, though his return to Fulham as an integral part of their attacking lineup makes a move unlikely.
  • Daniel Jebbison, after choosing to leave Sheffield United, who is also eyed by Leeds United.
  • Macaulay Langstaff, known for his goal-scoring prowess at Notts County and linked with multiple Championship clubs.
  • Dajaune Brown, the Derby County teenager who caught attention with his performance at Gateshead and is now scouted by Sunderland.
  • Musa Drammeh, who was linked with Sunderland but has already committed to Hearts in a three-year deal.

West Bromwich’s manager, Androni Iraola, acknowledged: “Kieffer Moore is a very good number nine, but it’s very difficult to give him more minutes due to competition from other talented forwards.”

The acquisitions of these strikers, especially if successful, could dramatically change Sunderland’s attacking dynamics and provide their new head coach with various tactical options. Reflecting on the team’s existing strengths and the potential of new integrations, Sunderland is poised to build on the success of their sixth-place finish in the Championship last season.

Rigg’s Potential as a Game Changer

Chris Rigg’s professional contract is a significant boost for Sunderland. Speakman shared insights into the youngster’s journey, noting:

“Chris has demonstrated immense potential. Securing his commitment not only strengthens our squad but embodies the club’s vision for nurturing young talent.”

Rigg’s contribution to the club last season, making 22 first-team appearances and captaining England U17s, positioned him as a rising star. His decision to stay affirms Sunderland’s environment as a nurturing ground for young talent.

Infrastructure Developments

Speakman also emphasised the importance of developing the club’s infrastructure. The ongoing refurbishment at the Academy of Light training ground aims to provide a conducive space for players and staff to relax and socialise, fostering team cohesion.

“What investment in infrastructure does is show tangible progress. These enhancements demonstrate the club’s vision and the path we are headed on,” explained Speakman.

The stadium is also undergoing several changes aimed at enhancing supporter experience. These updates are set to make a noticeable difference and are a reflection of the positive direction the club is taking.

Sunderland’s Strategy and Model

Under the leadership of the young and dynamic Kyril-Louis Dreyfus, Sunderland is evolving with a clear strategy focused on player trading. They aim to buy promising talents at a lower price and develop them into high-value players for potential future sales.

One example of this approach is Jack Clarke, who joined from Tottenham for less than £1 million and now attracts eight-figure bids after a successful season. However, Speakman assured that Sunderland wouldn’t let their players leave at undervalued prices:

“When we eventually sell a player who’s come, improved, and moved on, we understand that will have huge implications for the club,” said Speakman.

This “start-up mentality” has led to a quick adoption of new strategies, providing a fresh buzz and positivity within the club. Yet, Speakman stresses the balance between ambition and the need for sustainability:

“Our ambition is always to field the strongest team, but this approach must be balanced with a sustainable model. We won’t compromise on our values or let players leave cheaply,” he asserted.


As Sunderland gears up for an exciting season ahead with strategic transfers and a solid developmental plan, fans have plenty to look forward to. The club’s commitment to nurturing young talents, coupled with smart infrastructure investments, underpins their ambition to ascend the Championship table and achieve long-term success.

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