Kristjaan Speakman, Sunderland’s sporting director, was appointed in December 2020. Here, we rank each of his new arrivals to the club.The former Birmingham City man has supervised a major makeover of the club’s playing group during his time at the Academy of Light, with the Wearsiders focusing on their academy and buying young players to be groomed and blooded in the first team.
It’s a winning method, with Speakman supplying a group that Alex Neil masterfully turned into promotion winners following Lee Johnson’s underachievement.
However, like with every recruitment approach, there are advantages and disadvantages. Some have criticized Speakman for failing to provide Sunderland with enough depth, as seen by the injuries to
Ross Stewart’s recall and the recall of Ellis Simms left Tony Mowbray without any senior attackers for much of last season. However, in this section, we go over every signing sanctioned by Speakman since his arrival at the club and rate them from one to 10.
We haven’t included Mason Burstow, Nazariy Rusyn, Jenson Seelt, Eliezer Mayenda, Timothee Pembele, and Adil Aouchiche because they haven’t played enough for the club yet, and we haven’t included youth squad acquisitions like Timur Tuterov.
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Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman
2. Ross Stewart
The big striker was spotted by Lee Johnson under the recommendation of Brian McDermott and brought to Sunderland under Kristjaan Speakman as Charlie Wyke’s replacement. Stewart was a magnificent addition and fired Sunderland to the Championship before injuries and his eventual departure to Southampton for big-money. The Black Cats turned a more than healthy profit. There is, though, regret that the two parties couldn’t agree on a new deal. 10/10.
3. Carl Winchester
Winchester proved to be a decent signing for Sunderland after being plucked from Forest Green Rovers. Another player Lee Johnson was familiar with. “Winniesta” helped Sunderland to promotion and turned in some battling performances in midfield, right back and right centre-back. Every team needs players like Carl Winchester. 7/10.