Opinion: Big challenges facing the new boss at the Stadium of Light

David Moyes has to address a number of issues early in the job on Wearside.

Opinion: Big challenges facing the new boss at the Stadium of Light
Moyes knows how to win games. | Photo: Teamtalk

David Moyes has spent his first days in charge of Sunderland on the phone trying to negotiate deals for players that will fit under his system at the club.

But does the former Manchester United boss have a mountain to climb after taking over from the New England manager Sam Allardyce, just shy of three weeks before the start of the Premier League season?

I believe so, here are a few key items that I think will be in the manager’s itinerary as the new boss of the Black Cats had to address a number of issues in the early stages of the job.

Securing a striker

Sunderland has sold Steven Fletcher and Danny Graham during the summer transfer window, which leaves them with only Jermain Defoe as the out-and-out frontman.

However, he is currently frustratingly been sidelined with a thigh injury, which he picked up during the pre-season friendlies and Sunderland risk starting the season without their main striker.

Although Duncan Watmore could take his place and potentially be the perfect fit having converted two penalties from the spot during Monday’s victory over FC Stade Nyonnais but he is also on the wing.

However, Fabio Borini has previously played there, but he spends last season on the wing and has only scored six league goals in the past two years.

Which leave Moyes with one other possible option, 17-year-old Swedish forward Joel Asoro, he scored and did well in the 3-2 win against FC Dijon on Wednesday, but will be a gamble to put the youngster to the test to kick off the season at Manchester City with a teenage debutant.

Moyes knows time is running out quickly as the season fast approaches he must bring in another striker to compliment Defoe and he must do so fast.

Defoe is overcome with emotion after the spectacular goal | photo: Telegraph
Defoe is overcome with emotion after the spectacular goal | photo: Telegraph

Analysis of the players

For the better part of the last five years, Sunderland has to fight through relegation battles and still manage to survive the drop, during which a total of six managers have tried to change the inevitable struggle and each one has failed at the task.

Moyes has inherited the team which gritted their teeth and rolled up their sleeves to climb to safety under  Allardyce guidance last season, what Moyes need's to do now is identify which players are part of the on-going struggle that seems to be a hindrance to Sunderland’s problems every season.

With a staggering 12 players have already left the club and a few that were left behind such as Jordi Gomez, Liam Bridcutt, and Will Buckley didn’t join the lads on their tour in the south of France, which gives a sense that these players do not have a place in Moyes plans and could free up a massive portion of the wage bill.

Not only that, Moyes also needs to make a quick assessment of his first-team squad find the areas that need significant improvements, and in my opinion, it would be mainly the defence to fill in the gaps and to stop the leaking of unnecessary goals.  

Persuading important players to stay

Lamine Kone and Jan Kirchoff were brought in by Allardyce in the January transfer window and without their presence, the Black Cats will have no doubt will have been spending the coming season in the Championship.

However, it is far uncertain that both will kick off their season at the Stadium of Light with reports suggests clubs are interested in Kone.

Kone was one of the key players to Sunderland's sucess | photo: Chronicle Live
Kone was one of the key players to Sunderland's sucess | photo: Chronicle Live

Centre-back Kone was absolutely stunning in the heart of the defence in the second half of last season and because of his outstanding performances he has attracted interest.

Meanwhile, Kirchoff has only 12 months left on his contract and the former Bayern Munch midfielder made a special impact in the center to help with Sunderland problems.

Moyes will have to move swiftly to secure the presence of both players to remain at the Stadium of Light.

Ellis Short

Ellis Short is the man with the money and from Roy Keane to Steve Bruce to Martin O’Neil to Gus Poyet have all failed to crack the American Business owner.

Previous managers have said, that Short did not stay true to his promises and several former bosses have spoken of their frustration in the transfer market.

However, that being said, Short has told the media that Moyes was always his first-choice of each of the five manager appointments.

Perhaps Moyes can use that to his advantage to get the funds he wants for a much-needed squad revamp.

Moyes must succeed where his predecessors have failed.