As reported back on January 9th by Roker Report, Ovie Ejaria has signed with the Black Cats after prolonged interest from Chris Coleman in the England U20 World Cup winner.
The dynamic midfielder has been playing well recently after recovering from injury. With 10 appearances in the PL2 yielding 1 goal and 2 assists, Sunderland fans will be hoping that Ejaria can continue his upturn in form after his move to the north east.
With Sunderland in desperate need of of midfield reinforcements capable of providing that spark we’ve been missing in the middle of the park, Ejaria will find himself thrown into the deep end where he will need to swim if his new club are to cling onto their Championship status - especially in the wakes of last night’s miserable defeat at St. Andrew’s.
He joins on loan until the end of the season, becoming Chris Coleman's third signing of the January transfer window.
Ejaria, who featured alongside Jake Clarke-Salter at the U20 World Cup last summer had this to say on his move;
I’m really happy because I’ve wanted to go out on loan for a while to get regular first-team football under my belt.
I’d say that I’m a player that likes to get on the ball quite a lot and make things happen, I’ll try to create chances and hopefully score some goals as well.
I’ll always give one hundred percent and work hard for the team.
Coleman himself had this to say on his latest new recruit;
Ovie is a talented young player with strength and imagination on the ball. He’s here to join our fight and has shown me how motivated he is to be here – and I’m sure he’s ready for the challenges ahead.
In order to get some opinion on what Sunderland can expect from Ovie Ejaria, we collared our friends from fellow SBNation site Liverpool Offside - and they seem fairly hopeful that the player can succeed on Wearside, despite his inexperience.
@LFCOffside on what Sunderland fans can expect...
He’s a talented box-to-box player and Liverpool fans thought he was on the verge of breaking into the first team last season as a regular - at least for the cups as a starter and a bench player for the league - until he picked up an injury that sidelined him for the second half of it.
Since then he’s been working his way back with the U23s so it’s a little hard to say where his progress is at as a first team player.
Clearly he’s got talent on the ball, a cool head in possession, and can pick a pass. But whether he’s going to hit the ground running in a highly competitive environment is a bit of a question mark, and despite his talent he is still fairly raw - and, right now, a bit of a jack of all trades sort.
He won’t be the answer if you’re counting on him either to be the primary anchor player or the one providing the bulk of any attacking threat from midfield and is probably best suited to playing in a three with a true holding player behind him and more of a natural ten ahead.
He also needs to grow into his frame a bit - right now, he’d best be described as lanky. That doesn’t seem to get in the way of his ball control in tight situations, though, and he should be able to help Sunderland in both possession and transition. He just won’t be blowing people up defensively or dribbling past five before scoring a goal himself.
He’s a useful all-rounder, though, and really did seem on the verge of breaking into the first team at Liverpool regularly this time a year ago before the injury set him back.
If he’s back to that point, he’s good enough to improve most midfields in the Championship as long as he’s not being asked to be the defensive or attacking specialist.
Fairly honest assessment from Liverpool Offside there - what we aren’t getting is an assured finished product, but a young man with raw attributes that needs to be playing games on a regular basis.
At this stage some athleticism and height in midfield will be a major asset to us, and that’s why I’m fairly content with Ejaria’s signing. The phrase ‘beggars can’t be choosers’ springs to mind - with Darron Gibson and Paddy McNair crocked, Jonny Williams unreliable with his fitness, Jack Rodwell missing and Lee Cattermole inconsistent, some other options in the centre of the park can only be a good thing.