Sunderland could be poised for a double bout of disappointment this summer as two potential transfer look to have severe obstacles placed upon them.
Firstly, former Manchester United left-back Demetri Mitchell is training with the club as Phil Parkinson looks to add another option to his ranks, but they now face a challenge from Championship side Luton Town. The Hatters survived late in the season courtesy of Nathan Jones’ arrival and they’re now thought to be interested in Mitchell, who was released at the end of the season.
Luton have a good record of developing full-backs, James Justin being a case point, and that combined with the lure of Championship football could provide an obstacle for Sunderland in their pursuit of the player.
If that wasn’t enough to worry the manager, they also face the prospect of being lumbered with Will Grigg for the duration of his contract according to another League One manager. Sam Ricketts was interested in taking the Northern Ireland international to Shrewsbury on loan in January and the Black Cats are still eager to offload the £4m flop, but Ricketts believes that the new salary cap will make it very hard for any clubs in the third-tier to put together a deal for Grigg.
“I think that (the January interest) was a bit of a one-off scenario that suited everyone,” the former Wrexham boss is reported as saying in the Northern Echo.
“Sunderland will be different, the finances involved are very different. He’s a proven goalscorer, but he’s not someone who you can sit here and now say is viable, especially with the salary cap now like it is.”
There is some good news for Phil Parkinson though, as former Bolton man Remi Matthews closes in on a deal which will see him between the sticks at the Stadium of Light next season.
Have you tried our latest mystery player quiz?
It would be easy for Sunderland fans to feel the summer business is moving too slowly, but they are not in awful shape. The squad they have is still a top ten squad and with considered and careful additions, it could become a top-six side, without a doubt.
The market is slow right now as the reality of the salary cap bites down hard and whilst the uncertainty over the immediate future of fans in stadiums rages on, Sunderland are still a huge draw for players at this level. They may miss out on Mitchell and they may get stuck with Will Grigg, but there are plenty of free agents out there whose demands will be falling by the day.
It’s a buyer’s market an those who hold their nerve could end up with bargains galore as the season draws near.