Pavel Kaderabek - Czech Republic & 1899 Hoffenheim
Whether DeAndre Yedlin is wearing a Sunderland shirt next year or not, it is important that we sign a right-back. We saw far too many torrid afternoons from Billy Jones last season, and although Yedlin improved markedly under Big Sam, he still has work to do both defensively and offensively.
Lille’s £12m-rated Djibril Sidibe has been linked, but I was impressed with Pavel Kaderabek in a poor Czech Republic side. The twenty-four year old only joined Hoffenheim from Sparta Prague last summer, but the German side struggled in the Bundesliga and have already seen their star man Kevin Volland leave this summer. If a Premier League side showed an interest in Kaderabek, he may well jump at the chance to move.
Kamil Glik - Poland & Torino
Poland have been efficient in their performances so far, and have looked very well drilled. I have no doubt that a big reason behind that is Kamil Glik. He is a real defender, marshalling the Polish backline, throwing his body in front of anything, and generally looking really hard.
The Torino skipper has been linked with us in the past, and after five years with the Italian outfit he could be ready for a change of scenery. Lamine Kone and Younes Kaboul looked excellent towards the end of the season, but a third quality centre-half would provide competition and depth to our defensive unit. At twenty-eight, he is in his prime as a central defender.
Ivan Strinic - Croatia & Napoli
Another player that has been linked with us previously, the twenty-eight year old left full-back currently plies his trade for Napoli. Strinic has spent the last season as back-up to Faouzi Ghoulam more often than not, and at this stage of his career will surely want to be playing first team football.
Patrick Van Aanholt became a key player for Sunderland last season after a quite frankly abhorrent run of performances early on, but he remains the only senior left-back at the club. Not only would Strinic provide direct competition for PVA, he is much more defensively astute than him. If both players are in form, there’s no reason why Strinic and PVA couldn’t both play in the same side, with the latter getting the freedom he so dearly desires to play in a more advanced role.
Ermir Lenjani - Albania & Rennes
Lenjani is another option to provide cover and competition to PVA in the left-back role. Albania were one of the more exciting teams to watch in the group stages, prepared to show plenty of adventure, and Lenjani was one of the standouts. Asides from missing an absolute sitter against Romania, he consistently gave a good account of himself throughout his side’s stay in the competition and was always willing to get forward.
He is a Rennes player who seems to be surplus to requirements, and although Nantes (the club he spent last season on loan at) have an option to make a loan deal permanent, they are yet to exercise it. The twenty-six year old would command a very low transfer fee, and would be a useful signing.
Jakub Blaszczykowski - Poland & Borussia Dortmund
SAFC Store staff will be cringing at the prospect of printing his name on the back of replica shirts, but ‘Kuba’ would be a superb signing for us. He has been plagued by injury problems over the last couple of seasons, but has shown with his performances in the tournament so far that he has put that behind him.
Primarily a right-sided midfielder but comfortable anywhere on the flank, he is a leader with experience of playing at a very high level, and even at the age of thirty has frightening pace. He is widely expected to leave Dortmund on a permanent basis this summer, and would surely be a great addition to SAFC both on and off the pitch.
Ozan Tufan - Turkey & Fenerbahçe
The Turkish media went absolutely berserk after their loss to Croatia in their first group game after Ozan found time to do his hair on the way to closing down Luka Modric, who lashed the ball home from twenty-five yards. That aside, Ozan is one of the more accomplished young footballers around at the moment, and has plenty of suitors across the continent.
At twenty-one years of age he already has twenty-seven caps to his name, and would be the ideal midfielder for Sunderland: dynamic, strong in the tackle and blessed with a superb range of passing. In fact, his game is very similar to that of Granit Xhaka, but he would not cost £30m. It’s maybe a tad ambitious to include him on this list as a potential target, but it would be a real statement of intent to bring in a player of his quality.
Remember to pop back tomorrow for Part Two!