Sunderland enquired after Lukas Nmecha before the January transfer window opened and are still playing a waiting game on where Manchester City will send the young striker on loan until the end of the season.
The 19-year-old signed a new contract with City last week, the finalising of which had been an obstacle to his release to a Championship side in order to gain experience. The three-year deal keeps Nmecha out of the clutches of other Premier League clubs vying to snaffle the cream of England’s U19 European Championship winning side.
National newspaper reports yesterday claimed Sunderland remain hopeful the youngster will agree to test himself at the Stadium of Light until the end of the season and the Black Cats are sure desperate to land some firepower.
Without a senior striker at the club, Chris Coleman’s men face a six-pointer against relegation rivals Hull City on Saturday on the back of a trio of games without scoring and with just three goals in their last eight games.
Since City built arguably the most impressive academy campus in world football, question marks have surrounded whether the club has been using the facilities to their potential due to the lack of youth players coming through into the first-team.
However, there has been a couple of names that have stood out in recent times and continuously find themselves under the watchful eye of supporters and club officials hopeful that the academy brokers a star soon - and one name is regularly mentioned, that of Lukas Nmecha.
German-born Nmecha has become so popular that many are predicting the young forward will eventually become the secondary option to Gabriel Jesus in the first-team. Originally a winger, his strong physique, eye for goal and brilliance on the ball, means Nmecha is far more suited to the typical ‘number nine’ role.
Likened to a younger Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Nmecha is a strong, powerful, pacey centre-forward who has proven time and again his predatory instincts in-front of goal during his development years at City. For the 19-year-old to develop into the formidable striker everyone predicts at the highest level, he must find himself a regular spot on loan at one of English football’s great clubs.
Lewis Grabban was highly influential for the Mackems’ this season, and hopefully Nmecha can have a similar impact in the north-east in your bid for survival.
For a Sunderland side short on goals and lacking physicality, pace and power, Nmecha ticks all the boxes. A ‘typical no. 9’ he’d also fit into Chris Coleman’s preferred type of centre-forward.
Some City fans have compared Nmecha to a young Darren Bent but he has a way to go to prove he can push for a first team spot within the Champions-elect star studded line-up. A successful spell saving the Black Cats could do just that and set the 19-year-old for a strong summer and push into next season.
For Sunderland - well, we just need a striker - and fast.