Sunderland, on this season’s form are a side in freefall. Currently joint-bottom on 31 points and five points from safety, it is worrying times up on Wearside.
A win by 21st-placed Birmingham tonight against 20th-placed Bolton will put the Black Cats eight points adrift with just 18 to play for. Should this be the position after tonight’s mini-round of Championship games, then Sunderland looking at League One football could very well be a reality come a step closer.
Should the Wearsiders go down, the drop to the third tier of English football would likely see an exodus of players leaving the Stadium of Light. However, a story breaking tonight is more concerned with the cost of players coming in to Sunderland rather than potentially leaving the club should relegation be confirmed.
This story, an article from the Daily Mail by Robert Cottingham, focuses on the huge sums paid by the Black Cats to agents as opposed to what the club splashed out on transfers. The difference between the two sums really isn’t in the direction that you’d expect it to be.
Cottingham reports that Sunderland, since the closure of the winter 2017 transfer window on January 31st last year, spent “£4.3 million on intermediary and agents’ fees,” this being the second-highest in the Sky Bet Championship behind Aston Villa’s outlay of £5.51 million.
As eye-watering an amount as that is, it pales into insignificance against the actual costs of players brought in, and not in the direction that you’d expect. Over the last two transfer windows, summer 2017 and January 2018, Sunderland bought players ONLY totaling £1.25 million. That outlay leaves a gap of £3.12 million between cost of players purchased and the money shelled out to agents.