Sunderland are reportedly seeking additional firepower in the January transfer window. The Black Cats are said to be one of a host of clubs monitoring West Bromwich Albion’s young striker Tyler Roberts, currently on loan at League One Walsall; and the Sunderland Echo have reported Bolton targetman Gary Madine is also on Chris Coleman’s radar.
Roberts is out of contract at the Hawthorns in the summer and according to West Midlands newspaper the Express and Star, Sunderland have been joined by Arsenal, Wolves, Swansea, Brighton and Olympique Marseille in monitoring his situation.
The report indicates the Baggies are prepared to offer the Wales Under-21 forward a new deal but with a clutch of clubs waiting in the wings, the youngster could enter discussions with admirers next month.
Roberts has scored 5 times in fifteen appearances this season and provided a handful of assists for John Whitney’s side who have had a solid enough campaign so far, sitting mid-table.
Marseille could bag a bargain due to regulations about signing young players and the paying of compensation fees. A figure of just £280,000 may be enough for the French giants to land the youngster.
After making his first team debut for Albion in 2016, Roberts has been on loan at Oxford United and Shrewsbury previously and with Alan Pardew recently replacing Tony Pulis, the striker may feel the time is right to move on from the Baggies.
Roberts turned out for England at schoolboy level before switching to Wales - the nationality of both his grandparents. In 2015, he captained the Wales U16 side to glory in the Victory Shield, scoring in the final against Northern Ireland and he was part of the Welsh squad at the Toulon tournament in the summer.
The Express and Star reported last month that Roberts has refused to commit to staying at Walsall until the end of the season and with Sunderland likely to be in the market for reinforcements up front, Coleman may swoop for his fellow Welshman.
The Black Cats fear losing Lewis Grabban in similar circumstances should Bournemouth recall the striker who has scored 11 times in an otherwise poor Sunderland squad still adjusting to life in the Championship.
Cherries boss Eddie Howe has indicated he will hold talks with Grabban but the south coast club have long been said to be keen on selling the 29-year-old and recoup some of the £7m they paid Norwich to resign him in January 2016.
With Grabban finding the net with regularity this season, it may be an optimal time for Bournemouth to sell him to a club seeking firepower in the January window.
Sunderland are already short of options up front with the other senior striker at the club, James Vaughan, failing to find the back of the net with regularity. Former England U21 forward Duncan Watmore is out for the season whilst 18-year-old Josh Maja is only just returning to full fitness and is largely unproven at senior level.
Roberts would be a welcome addition but Coleman will still surely also need to bring in a tried-and-tested attacker, even if Grabban does stay. Enter Gary Madine?
So the Sunderland Echo suggest anyway. The 27-year-old has been with Bolton since 2015 and is under contract for a further two years.
Hailing from Birtley, Madine made his name at Sheffield Wednesday, scoring 26 times in 101 appearances. The 6ft 3in striker was linked to Adam Johnson’s ex Stacey Flounders recently which would add a further layer of intrigue to the story. But the Sun have today reported she is now prepared to wait for the jailed former Sunderland winger.