It’s clear to see that the team could do with an athletic central midfielder capable of picking the ball up and driving the play forward. Ideally, they would be capable of adding some physicality to our side, but first and foremost they need to bring creativity and the ability to generate chances for our forwards. Who should we go for?
Tom Atkinson says...
Name: Scott Fraser
Club: Burton Albion
Scott Fraser is a versatile midfielder who has 4 assists and 3 goals to his name so far this season. Playing predominantly on the left of a midfield three, the Scottish midfielder is tidy in possession with an average 81% passing accuracy; however, he has also contributed with an impressive average of 3.2 key passes per game showing a more daring side to his play that Sunderland are currently lacking.
To give you a comparison, Max Power averages 0.4 key passes per game, Dylan McGeouch 0.1, George Dobson 0.3, and Grant Leadbitter 1.4.
In terms of physicality, the former Dundee United player stands a little over 6 feet tall, and would compliment the likes of Power and Dobson, adding more athleticism to the middle of the park.
At 24, and currently in good form, Fraser would be an astute purchase that would provide much-needed creativity to the middle of Sunderland’s midfield.
Stealing players from Sunderland’s divisional rivals will come at a price.
Whilst there are a smattering of decent players currently operating at this level, it would perhaps be more wise for the club’s owners to look towards the league above at talented players who may be available cheaper than their League One counterparts. That said, some players are simply worth taking a risk on. There are young players currently smashing it in our league who are destined to find themselves at a higher level, playing week in, week out to a standard befitting of a footballer who can push a team towards promotion.
Name: Cameron Brannagan
Club: Oxford United
Position: Box-to-box midfielder
It’s hardly a well-kept secret, but Oxford United midfielder Cameron Brannagan is a fantastic footballer and is sure to be the subject of interest this coming January. He’s already notched 7 goals and 3 assists from the centre of the park this season, establishing him as one of the most effective attacking central midfielders in the third tier.
Oxford may well be one of Sunderland’s promotion rivals but they’re punching above their weight slightly, and are historically a selling club out to make a profit on any young player in their ranks - lower down the food chain receiving big transfer fees in exchange for your top players is commonplace, and as popular and important to the U’s as the former Liverpool man is, they’ll not think twice about letting him leave if they feel the deal is in the club’s best interests.
All business from this point by Sunderland should be done with a view to progressing the club; signing footballers who can not only contribute immediately but, in the event of promotion to the Championship, would be capable of playing at that level also.