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Kristan Heneage - Five Players From Abroad That Sunderland Should Target

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From time to time our friend Kristan Heneage stops by and, with him being a bit of a foreign football bod, I thought I'd ask him about players from abroad - hidden gems, if you will - that Sunderland should be looking at as we head towards the end of the January transfer window. Take it away, Kristan....

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Soriano

Roberto Soriano – Sampdoria

This is most definitely an ambitious attempt. Roberto Soriano was heavily linked with Napoli during the summer, and I believe he's only become better since then. A dynamic midfielder that gets goals, he offers a lot of what the Sunderland midfield is missing right now. The fact he also has an eleven million pound buyout clause makes him incredibly good value in today's market. Arguably the marquee signing of the group, he would be the man to build the side around moving forward, and he'd win fans over quickly.

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Hakim Ziyech – FC Twente

As each day of the window passes I become more amazed that Hakim Ziyech remains in Enschede. A somewhat slight attacking midfielder, his numbers speak for themselves. Collecting ten goals and five assists in seventeen league games for Twente, he's carried the team on his back amid mounting financial pressures. Talking to people in Holland he would likely be available for as little as five millions pounds because of those money problems, making him a minimal risk. Still just twenty-two years of age, he may need some time to settle but his ceiling is sizeable.

JKM

Fabian Castillo – FC Dallas

I acknowledge this pick may seem a little left field, but hear me out. Castillo joined FC Dallas as a raw youngster and has quickly developed into a frighteningly good winger. Blessed with a bag of tricks, he also holds blistering pace. Sunderland aren't really full of that out wide and he reminds me a lot of Jefferson Montero in the way he plays. Dallas are wanting big money for him, with talk that he could break the MLS record for an outgoing player. Still I like a lot of what he offers and if the club could hold firm on the price (say six to eight million dollars) I think he'd be a shrewd buy.

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Andreas Christensen – Chelsea (on loan at Gladbach)

This is a slightly complicated deal, largely as it is hard to tell what Chelsea think about the Danish defender. He's clearly talented and he recently won Gladbach's player of the month award, recovering from an iffy start to life in Germany. Assuming the Blues still rate him highly, Sunderland may have to settle for a loan deal. He's on good money at Chelsea which may hamper a deal also, but there's huge potential in this guy. I see him being a starter for Denmark for years to come and he'll add a calming, ball-playing presence to the back line.

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Sime Vrsaljko – Sassuolo

There's a strong chance you may have heard of Mr Vrsaljko if you play Football Manager. Many years ago he was one of the best right back prospects on the game, and it was hard to look past him if you could get in there quick enough. His real life career didn't quite match that success, until he moved to Sassuolo. Operating as a right back, he's getting looks from some of Europe's elite. However if Sunderland were to steal in with an early bid they could potentially get the deal done quickly. A solid defender that still has room to improve, he'd be a good fit for the Premier League I think.