RR understand that Sunderland are set to sign 24-year-old central defender Jordan Willis, joining on a free transfer following his decision to reject a new contract at our League One rivals Coventry City.
The ex-Sky Blues captain completed his medical at the Academy of Light this morning, and agreed a deal with the club which sees him join this summer alongside former teammate Lee Burge.
The former England youth international reportedly received interest from several championship clubs including Derby, Bristol City, Hull and Sheffield Wednesday. However, Sunderland have managed to secure his signature and complete a very sensible piece of business.
Willis was first choice centre half at Coventry last season in a side that finished 8th, narrowly missing out on the play-offs. He has spent his entire career at Coventry making 247 appearances, captaining the side to winning the EFL Trophy and the League Two playoffs where he scored a screamer in the final.
Following the departure of Donald Love, Sunderland have brought in a versatile defender continuing their one in, one out transfer policy. Willis has been brought in to provide competition at centre back, but he can also play at right-back if required.
He may not be the tall brute defender many fans want, but he possesses excellent pace and power, traits that our defence were clinically exposed by their lack of last season. Willis is comfortable on the ball which is a must in a side like Sunderland that tries to control possession.
Willis broke into the Coventry side aged just 17. He possesses excellent League One experience for his age, which seems to be a key part of Sunderland’s recruitment following our recent signings of Lee Burge and Conor McLaughlin. Both Willis and Burge were named in the League Two team of the year whilst at Coventry during their play-off success.
The defender will provide pace and composure to play alongside someone slower such as Alim Ozturk or Glenn Loovens. Willis’ more physical side would assist a weaker defender like Jack Baldwin or Tom Flanagan, who were frequently dominated by highly physical forwards.
Should Sunderland decide to play three at the back, as we did against South Shields yesterday, Willis would be the perfect option to play at right centre back.
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