Steve Bruce has not been given a transfer budget for the close season, chairman Niall Quinn revealed today. But the Sunderland manager knows that if he needs money for any target this summer, he's got every chance of getting it. Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, Quinn revealed the way the club would work to bring in players in the months ahead. And that, essentially, will allow Bruce to dictate his own transfer budget within reason.
The unusual maturity of the relationship between manager, chairman and owner at Sunderland means that the usual rules will not apply, and that includes the manager NOT being given a clearly defined transfer pot to work with. "Steve hasn't been given a budget as such," said Quinn. "He's ahead of that. "I think you'd do that for an inexperienced manager.
"You'd say 'you've got X amount of money to work with'. "But Steve has loads of experience as a manager and he knows where he can go to in terms of buying players, and he also knows where he would have to sell if he wanted to go even further. "It's not as simple as just giving someone a certain sum of money."
Players such as Daryl Murphy, Marton Fulop, David Healy, Nyron Nosworthy, George McCartney and Teemu Tainio are all expected to leave this summer, which will lighten Sunderland's wage bill considerably.
And the sale of players like Anton Ferdinand and Phil Bardsley will also be considered if the offer is good enough. Any money generated by player sales and associated wage savings will be available to Bruce to bolster his squad in the key areas he has identified.
But Quinn said Bruce knows that he will have to use the owner's cash wisely.
"Steve has a wish-list of players to sign, which would be the perfect scenario," said the chairman. "And we could provide the perfect scenario if three or four others move away.
"But you can't judge that."You don't know who is going to come in for what players, so it is hard to give a definite figure. "But what you can say is that there are areas that we know we will certainly have to strengthen.
"We've got a grown-up relationship – we trust him to take this club forward – but we also trust him to get value for money and run the club in the right way. "We're incredibly fortunate to have an owner who has already backed this club more than anyone ever has in its history, but Steve knows it is vital that we do it right and we trust it to him to do that."
Bruce has already brought in Paraguay midfielder Cristian Riveros on a free transfer and is understood to be close to signing highly-rated Belgium Under-21 goalkeeper Simon Mignolet from St Truidense.
He is also keen to bring in a right-back, with Spurs' Alan Hutton – who spent the second half of last season on loan on Wearside – his preferred option, if the price is right.
But Sunderland will not be held to ransom on the Scotland international, who originally cost a ridiculously over-priced £9m when signed by Spurs from Rangers a couple of seasons ago.
Sunderland are also hoping to re-sign centre-back John Mensah on loan from Lyon, if they can negotiate a pay-as-you-play deal for the World Cup-bound Ghanaian, who was a big hit while with the Black Cats this season despite his poor injury record.
Bruce has other irons in the fire as he looks to add genuine quality to an improving squad. He is in the fortunate position of not having to work out how to divide up a limited war-chest. Owner Ellis Short will support the manager if Bruce feels that a target is the right player at the right price.
But Quinn's explanation of how the three men will work together is an example of how united the club is at the top.
Source: Sunderland Echo
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