Sunderland manager Lee Johnson has admitted that a number of players will move on from the club this summer following the Black Cats’ play-off disappointment.
The Lowdown: Another season in League One
Johnson’s side may have beaten Lincoln City 2-1 at the Stadium of Light on Saturday afternoon, but they still exited the League One play-offs at the semi-final stage.
The Latest: Johnson provides key update
There have been claims that Johnson could be sacked this summer, and speaking to The Chronicle after the Lincoln match, the manager admitted that several players will leave in what is set to be a summer of upheaval on Wearside. The 39-year-old outlined:
“There’s going to be a natural evolution of the squad now. Some players will have played their last game there today for various reasons.
“Some we may want to keep but can’t afford to, some we might not want and will want to move on, and others we might want to retain and will give them our best offer. It’s a sad day because you do build a rapport with these players.
“I think our recruitment becomes the difference, to be honest with you. That is the summer challenge – to make sure, potentially on a slightly reduced budget, that we actually recruit very well.
“I fully believe in the club, there’s no doubting that. I came into the club knowing how difficult it was going to be.
“We’ve had an unbelievable run of things that have gone on – some you know, and some you don’t know – and we’ve obviously continued to try to plough away.
“In the background, we’ve got a sporting director and owner working very hard, and a new head of recruitment and data, and that’s a process that’s ever-evolving, but that I don’t have to be involved in until now.
“We will set down and reflect on the season, and have some really honest conversations and be brutally honest about what went well and what didn’t go well.
“There’ll be changes. It’s inevitable there’ll be changes, and the test will be whether we can make those changes for the better.”
The Verdict: Time for an overhaul
With so many Sunderland players out of contract at the end of the season, with the likes of Grant Leadbitter, Josh Scowen or Aiden McGeady among that list, it does feel like a new era is beginning at the club, particularly in light of Johnson’s candid admission.
Another promotion push has to be the aim in 2021/22, however, as the Black Cats desperately look to battle their way back into the Championship for the first time since 2017/18.
Whether or not Johnson is the man to oversee a new batch of players coming to the club remains to be seen, but he is clearly under no illusions that his squad will be very different if he stays. There were numerous new arrivals at the start of the campaign; we can expect that to be the case again this summer.
In other news, many Sunderland fans slammed one player after the play-off exit. Find out who it is here.
Click here to comment on this articleor
Give us feedback on your Football Transfer Tavern experience