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‘I’m not totally convinced’ – EFL experts have their say on Sunderland’s future and whether the model is right

Since Kyril Louis-Dreyfus took the helm of Sunderland the Black Cats have seen a new model implemented on Wearside.

That model was put into place by Sporting Director Kristjaan Spearman. It majorly prioritises signing youth prospects to develop and ultimately sell for profit, and has already seen Sunderland climb from being stuck in League One to a top-six Championship finish.

However, the loss and failure to replace key players, partnered with the shambolic 12-game tenure of Michael Beale has led to criticism from some corners of the fanbase on the model.

Speaking on the Sunderland strategy, The72 editor and EFL expert, James Ray said: “Personally, I think there is a way for Sunderland’s model to succeed, but they need to be more flexible. If they don’t adapt at least a little, I’m not sure they’ll get to the heights they want to reach.”

Fellow The72 writer, Harry Mail, added: “I admire the Sunderland model and believe it is a financially sustainable one. However, I think in the long run they need to bring in a few more experienced players as well as the young players to ensure they aren’t too reliant on youngsters, especially during crucial points in a season. You sometimes need individuals who are a bit more streetwise and who have done it before in terms of getting promotion.”

Looking ahead to next season, Ray said: “Sunderland’s hopes for next season all depend on how they replace the outgoing stars. Given that recent recruitment has been a little hit and miss, I’m not totally convinced of how they’ll fare.”

That opinion was shared by Mail: “Sunderland’s chances of success next season depend on who they sign to replace Jack Clarke and who they bring in as their new manager. If they want to challenge for promotion, they need to ensure that they get their recruitment right and fill the gaps of any departures with adequate additions.”

This summer may be make or break. The Sunderland hierarchy will almost certainly need to replace Jack Clarke as well as potentially one or two more big names.

Louis-Dreyfus and Speakman also must ensure the next head coach appointment is one that can undoubtedly take the club forward.

There is a large amount of pressure on them heading into the summer, but on the whole Sunderland are in a much stronger position than they were before their arrival and the future does appear to remain bright on Wearside.