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Could Hibernian striker Jason Cummings be just what Sunderland need in the Championship?

With major changes to Sunderland's playing squad expected this summer, could a move for one of the hottest young prospects in Scottish football be the key to David Moyes' side hitting the ground running in the Championship?

Hibernian v St Johnstone - Scottish League Cup Semi Final Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images

Everyone has their price. I don’t want to sell them, I’m not saying we will sell them.

We are in control — the club. We’ve got them on long-term contracts. But finances maybe will dictate. If we get big enough offers in it will give the club something to think about.

The words of Hibernian manager Neil Lennon this week certainly indicated that he is fully aware that his star striker Jason Cummings, and indeed his player of the season John McGinn, could be due a head-turning bid from a club south of the border - one of which may very be ourselves.

I’m by no means an complete expert on Hibs, or indeed Scottish football, but living thirty seconds from Hampden Park in the Southside of Glasgow I have taken in many games featuring the fair-haired striker over the past five years and I must admit, I think the alleged fee of £2m could prove to be a very clever move by David Moyes if it comes to fruition.

I’ve been impressed by the tenacity of the 21-year-old, let alone his ability to hit the back of the net. He has good feet, pace and a definite swagger that verges on arrogance that I’d love to see him bring to us next year. He’s got character and it’s something we buy into as fans, whilst it is also something we desperately need right now.

Whilst many will attest that playing in the Scottish second tier for the majority of your career is not a good indication of your talent, I would honestly say the difference between the SPL, Celtic aside, is pretty marginal. It’s certainly not the gulf you see between the Premier League and the Championship - a gap which just seems to get wider and wider. Let’s not forget either that we are no longer a Premier League side and thus our idea of a ‘good signing’ may not be what we’ve been used to. He’s also the first player in the fifty years to score over twenty goals for three consecutive seasons at Easter Road.

Perhaps Cummings' greatest trait is his ability to be in the right place at the right time - it's a knack that has aided many ‘lower’ level strikers to make the step up with consummate ease. His goal-scoring ratio last year at Hibernian was impressive; 23 goals in 30 starts is good at almost any level. Once again he featured in the Scottish Championship team of the year for the second season running.

Cummings is no stranger to pressure either; in fact his first career goals came in Hibernian’s unsuccessful relegation play off as an 18-year-old, scoring twice as Hibernian won 2–0 against Hamilton Academical in the first leg of the promotion/relegation play-off. Hibs lost the return match 2–0 and Cummings missed in the penalty shoot-out, meaning as a youngster he suffered not only the heartache of relegation but also having to face being known as the striker that missed a crucial penalty.

He quickly turned his relegation nightmare into a positive, churning out match-winning performances that almost single-handedly pushed a desperately poor Hibs team towards a title challenge, all whilst still a teenager. Although it took until this season for the promotion to become a reality, he’s helped in bringing the Scottish Cup to the Edinburgh-based side for the first time since 1901. He came within a whisker of being crowed a double winner too, losing out to a last minute goal to Ross County in the Scottish League Cup in the very same season.

Cummings is a character both on and off the pitch. Just a quick Google search of his name will attest to that. He's the life and soul of the Hibernian dressing room and it's something that you'd have to take into account - the Championship season is long and arduous and having players that can help keep up spirits when the going gets tough is important.

For every Henrik Larsson there’s a Kris Boyd, for every Virgil van Djik a Russell Anderson. When buying players from Scotland it’s very much a hit or a complete miss. However, in a team that lacks bite, ability and most importantly a character and relationship with the fanbase, I think Jason Cummings could be a vital cog in our ability to bring this club back to where it should be, both in performance on the pitch and togetherness off it.

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