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BLOG: Midfielder Should Be Offered Sunderland Swansong

Greame Atkinson tells us why he wants to see one smouldering chunk of midfield enforcer return to Sunderland this summer.

Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

It's emerged over the last few days that Lorik Cana will leave Lazio this summer. Quotes attributed to his father and agent suggests the former Sunderland Captain is intent on a new challenge.

"After four years at the club, it is the time to try a new experience, even though his contract with Lazio doesn't expire for 12 months."

So with his time in Italy appearing to be nearing an end, should Lee Congerton look to finance a deal which would see Cana make a dramatic return to the Stadium of Light?

Now 32, the Albanian International has played a number of games in Serie A as a defender rather than the more familiar midfield enforcer position we saw here. However, arguably one of his most-stand out performances for SAFC came against Liverpool in 2009 when he finished the game at centre back, showing all the composure of someone who had played there for years.

Given central defence is a position we seem to be looking to strengthen this summer, someone of Cana's experience and attitude for the game is exactly what our backline needs, although an area of concern would be the pace of the Premier League.

We already have Brown and O'Shea, who frankly aren't the quickest to say the least, and having another defender in his 30s to rely on, might just be one too many. Indeed if the Jenkinson and Van Dijk links are anything to go by, Congerton and Advocaat seem to be identifying younger prospects rather than those falling under the umbrella of seasoned pro.

Despite enjoying success in Italy as a defender, having to play centre back against the likes of Theo Walcott and Sergio Aguero week in week out might begin to show fragility in his playing style and could well impact on the former PSG and Marseille man's confidence and as a result that of the team.  It's generally accepted that Serie A is more of a slower and tactical league, which at this point in his career, might suit Cana more.

Notwithstanding the trepidation around how he'd handle the Premier League's pace, I'm not sure it would hurt to have Cana back for a season or two, assuming the financial package was sensible.

We'd be signing someone already knowledgeable about the club as well as a player with the versatility to be able to play well in at least two positions. In addition, Cana has played for big clubs his entire career and that's the sort of mindset we could do with injecting a bit more of, right across the squad.

Although Cana didn't stay with us long his commitment on the pitch can't be questioned. Our perennial dalliances with relegation could be averted with more players like him willing to give 100% week in week out.

It's understood that three or four offers are already on the table for Cana and his representatives to consider, and whilst it's unlikely we'll be in the mix there's a sentimental part of me that would like us to be.

Of course sentiment can cloud the ability to make right decisions and Congerton will be looking at players more dispassionately. There'll be other targets who he feels can offer more at this stage in proceedings, but if the price was right and Cana was willing, I'm sure he'd please a few of us if he wore the red and white once again.

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