According to the Scottish Sun, Sunderland have joined the race to sign Dundee United left back Jamie Robson. And the prospect surely raises the question of whether World Cup-bound Bryan Oviedo is set to leave the Stadium of Light in January.
The article suggests Derby County are also keeping tabs on Robson and with his contract up next summer, the Tannadice club could be willing to sell the 19-year-old in the upcoming transfer window.
Robson was linked with a move to Southampton in the summer with speculation on deadline day suggesting he was bound for the south coast. In the end, no firm offer was made and the teenager has since started each of United’s league games so far this season.
And the links could signal that current Sunderland left back Bryan Oviedo intends to be away from the Stadium of Light when the window opens. The Costa Rican international has continued to assert he will assess his options as Russia 2018 nears to ensure he approaches the World Cup in peak condition. Earlier this month, the former Everton man suggested he still anticipates returning to England’s top tier:
Obviously I would love to return to the Premier League because it gives you more exposure. I hope to be able to return.
Oviedo went on to qualify that statement by suggesting playing regularly in the Championship is still posing him sufficient challenge to gain momentum as the global tournament approaches.
Taking a punt on a Scottish Championship full back to replace the experience of Oviedo would be a risk, but Robson is unlikely to fancy a move south simply to sit on the bench at the Stadium of Light after playing regularly in Scotland for the past two seasons.
And Oviedo remains one of the few Sunderland players to be worth a reasonable sum of money. Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong are the only other two first team regulars likely to be valued at a figure running into the millions and the cash-strapped Black Cats are bound to be active sellers in the new year to fund a minor squad rebuild under new boss Chris Coleman.
At 27, Oviedo is quite possibly near the peak of what he would be worth to a Sunderland side unlikely to return to the Premier League until at least 2019.
A decent World Cup would of course bump up his price a little more, but after an injury-plagued career limited his opportunities at Goodison Park, the defender has managed a run of games at the Stadium of Light which may convince clubs interested in forking out for a left-back that he would be worth stumping a few million quid for.