Since Jon McLaughlin departed for Rangers earlier this summer, Sunderland have been on the hunt for a new goalkeeper to compete with Lee Burge. Phil Parkinson’s team have been strongly linked with signing Wolves’ new keeper Matija Sarkic on loan, but the latest link to emerge is ex-Bolton keeper Remi Matthews.
The 26-year-old played 33 League One matches last season, keeping eight clean sheets as Bolton were relegated to League Two. Matthews would join on a free transfer and has worked with Phil Parkinson before, the question is, is he any good?
Roker Report spoke to Bolton fan and YouTuber Thogden to see if he believes Matthews would be a great addition to Sunderland’s squad.
MC: Remi Matthews was Bolton’s first-choice goalkeeper last season, were you disappointed to see him leave the club this summer?
T: I was upset to see him leave at the end of the season, but since we hired Ian Evatt as our new manager we have signed a fresh group of players who are ready to go, so I am not as concerned anymore.
MC: In terms of style, is Matthews comfortable playing out from the back or is he a more traditional shot-stopper?
T: Matthews is a sold shot stopper, but he can be hit and miss with his distribution out from the back. Also, he sometimes lacks coordination, but he is great at dealing with one-on-ones.
MC: Matthews played under Phil Parkinson both in League One last season and during Bolton’s Championship relegation season in 2018/19 - why was Ben Alnwick originally frequently preferred to Matthews?
T: Ben Alnwick was preferred as he had been at Bolton a year longer and probably had a better relationship with Parky. Having said that, a relationship developed between Parky and Remi once he became our number one goalkeeper.
MC: What relationship did Phil Parkinson have with Remi Matthews during their time together at Bolton?
T: Phil’s relationship developed with Remi as he was proving to be Bolton’s best keeper with some of the solid saves he was pulling off for us. His coordination and passing ability may have sometimes slacked, but Parky liked him.
MC: Bolton conceded 66 league goals in just 34 League One matches last season, despite conceding so many goals how did Matthews perform individually across the season?
T: The amount of goals Bolton conceded was not Matthews’ fault. A lot of the time he even stopped more from going in with some great saves. Unfortunately, he did the blame from a proportion of Bolton fans, but he has always been a nice guy and a good personality for the dressing room.
MC: Many Sunderland goalkeepers in recent seasons (Lee Camp, Jason Steele, Robbin Ruiter) have crumbled under the pressure of playing at the Stadium of Light, does Matthews strike you as someone who could cope with playing with high expectations?
T: Matthews is a better goalkeeper when there aren’t expectations, many Bolton fans had big expectations of him. Having said that, he did learn over time to deal with pressure most of the time.
MC: The 26-year-old has also been linked with Ipswich, from a neutral perspective which club do you believe would be more beneficial for him to join?
T: The interest shown from Ipswich and Sunderland shows what Matthews is capable of. I think he would be better off joining Sunderland since he knows the gaffer already.
MC: Overall, as a free transfer do you Sunderland signing Remi Matthews would be a positive transfer for the club?
T: I think this would be a positive signing for Sunderland. You can expect some solid saves but the occasional freak error, overall Remi Matthews is a decent keeper at League One level.