It’s “make or break” for Sunderland and their owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus in the next 12 months according to ex-Black Cats player, Kieron Brady. The summer transfer window opens on June 14 and there are plenty of issues surrounding the squad this summer, not least who will be sold and which players will be brought in.

Much of that depends on just who will be installed as head coach, with one of the early favourites, Paul Heckingbottom, reported to be speaking to Plymouth Argyle this week. The transfer market dealings will be crucial forthis summer.

The club sacked Tony Mowbray and Michael Beale in a disastrous campaign in which Louis-Dreyfus has come under the spotlight, along with sporting director Kristjaan Speakman. The club slipped away alarmingly after flirting with the play-off positions and following Beale’s sacking in February, results and performances fell off a cliff.

The club’s 16th-place finish was a disappointing one, with interim head coach Mike Dodds failing to inspire the team as his squad limped to the end of the season, finishing just six points above the relegation zone. All eyes will be on Louis-Dreyfus right now as he has a chance to reinstate his reputation among supporters.

Speaking on Total Sport about the current predicament at the Stadium of Light, and the summer ahead, former Sunderland man Brady made an interesting claim. The pundit said: “This summer window is make or break for Kyril Louis-Dreyfus in the court of public opinion.

“Something’s going to have to give, and if the focus is almost exclusively on youth, again, then he’s taking one almighty gamble. If we get to the end of next season, in about a year’s time, and not only have Sunderland not reached the play-offs at least, but if it’s been evident from February or March that they’re not going to reach the play-offs at all, unless something significantly unusual happens, then I think he will lose the support more or less in its entirety.

“You could argue that it’s a bigger season for Louis-Dreyfus and his legacy at the club, than it is for the club itself.”

Louis-Dreyfus arrived at Sunderland in 2021, becoming the controlling shareholder in 2022. A Championship return from League One followed and the club went on to make the play-offs in their first season back in the second tier.

Mowbray’s sacking was seen as harsh and unnecessary and Beale’s recruitment was universally unpopular with Sunderland fans.
While financial stability is evident from the accounts, it is on the pitch where Louis-Dreyfus needs to deliver, both with a head coach fans can relate to and in terms of keeping the best players and new signings.