Poyet completed wise transfer dealings over the summer, signing seven players, with just three commanding fees.
Patrick van Aanholt and Jack Rodwell signed from Chelsea and Manchester City respectively, for undisclosed fees, whilst Will Buckley completed the switch from Poyet’s former club Brighton, for roughly £2.5 million. Alongside the trio, Billy Jones, Jordi Gomez, Costel Pantilimon and Anthony Reveillere completed the switch to the Stadium of Light at various points throughout the early part of the season, all signing on free transfers.
Having successfully fought off relegation last term, many were suggesting that Poyet’s acquisitions had set the club in good stead for the current campaign, and their early season form showed improvement, even if it was not as impressive as hoped. Five draws from their first six games hinted at a tough-to-beat, but technically limited side, before they clinched their first three points of the season with a 3-1 win at home to Stoke.
However, crisis hit, and two consecutive losses to Southampton and Arsenal brought a return of 10 goals conceded, whilst a number of first-team injuries resulted in Poyet fielding a makeshift back-four - with academy prospects named amongst substitutes.
Despite their troubles, they endured their bad run of form, winning 3-1 at Crystal Palace, and drawing 1-1 with Everton, and the first-team squad is slowly returning to full fitness. However, Poyet admitted that the Black Cats squad is still not good enough, claiming that it is missing the key player who will turn them into a good team. Using the example of Diego Costa and Cesc Fabregas at Chelsea, the Uruguayan coach told the Chronicle that when the key man is bought, Sunderland will be ‘very difficult to play against’.
He said: “There’s got to be a moment where you need to add that certain player who’s going to make a difference.
“A player who is so important that you are going to become a good team for sure. Maybe not at the level of [Cesc] Fabregas and [Diego] Costa at Chelsea, but that idea.
“When we achieve that, we’re going to be very, very difficult to play against because you’re going to have a certain style and power in the team that is totally different to the rest.”
Costa and Fabregas have revitalised Chelsea following their arrivals from Atletico Madrid and Barcelona respectively, with the former netting 10 goals in nine games, and the latter scoring once and registering nine assists in 11 games. Their impact has been of vital importance to the Blues as they sit atop the Premier League table, and Poyet will be hoping he can sign a player that has half the impact that the Spanish duo have had at Stamford Bridge.