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TRANSFER SPECULATION: Sunderland have been repeatedly linked to Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones

Sunderland have been repeatedly linked over recent weeks to Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones. Here, BBC Radio Newcastle presenter (and die-hard Kilmarnock fan) Michael Hamilton shares his thoughts on him with us - and explains why he’d be a perfect fit.

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You only get your own song if you’re a hit with the supporters. A great one for Killie fans last season was a Youssouf Mulumbu tune to the tune of Earth, Wind & Fire’s September, while for Jordan Jones it’s Gold by Spandau Ballet.

But did you know Jordan Jones was signed for Kilmarnock by an ex-Sunderland midfielder? Released by Middlesbrough but given a deal after the second day of a week long trial, he’d immediately impressed north of the border.

The fact Lee Clark signed about thirty players during his twelve months at Killie, yet Jones is just about the only one still there, should be a positive sign. Couple that with Kilmarnock’s enormous upturn in form last season, and the fact Jones is their star player, and he seems a promising potential signing for Sunderland indeed.

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Kilmarnock were battling relegation early last season and without a league win when Steve Clarke, ex-assistant to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea, entered. What followed was a revolution, including a long run of league form matched only by Celtic. Jordan Jones, playing as a winger, or in a free role behind the striker, was their most dangerous attacking player according to most Scottish pundits.

Kilmarnock were unbeaten against the Old Firm under Clarke, and Jones was key - setting up Mulumbu’s winner as they beat Celtic 1-0 in February having scored in the 1-1 draw last October. Jones’ improved form last season also saw him make his international debut for Northern Ireland (eligible thanks to his Irish family roots) and score a goal of the season nominee for Kilmarnock against Hibs.

Those examples all sum up Jones’ play - a forward who likes to beat defenders, score goals, and create chances. He’s perhaps a little greedy at times and fans of opposing teams say he’s a diver - but my personal view is he’s a tricky player who wins free kicks.

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But Jones’ form also won admiration from other clubs. Rangers made an offer in January, which was rejected. He’s since been linked with clubs as big as Premier League Burnley. And his future remains in doubt. Many of the players who starred in Clarke’s revolution have signed extended deals at Rugby Park, while Jones’ contract has just one year left.

So he’s McGeady-esque or a replacement for McManaman in terms of style for Sunderland, and were he to join he wouldn’t be the first with links to both clubs. For example, midfielder Allan “Magic” Johnston played for both the Black Cats and Killie, while Sunderland’s new assistant boss James Fowler spent nearly his entire career as a player in Ayrshire.

Given the budget Stewart Donald is boasting at Sunderland, the chance to play in front of more than three times as many fans at the Stadium of Light, and Jordan Jones being from Redcar - Sunderland fans might soon want to start brushing up on that Spandau.

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