I know that there is a risk of overhyping a player before we’ve seen them - especially since Southampton fans purred over Jake Vokins last season when he signed for Sunderland, and that never worked out - but I don’t think any of us can really ignore the reaction from Spurs supporters to the news that they’re letting one of their brightest young players leave North London on a permanent basis.
Dennis Cirkin is clearly a very talented young player, with many both inside and outside the game expecting the England youth international to have a great career in the game.
The 19-year-old was tipped back in November by pundits at the Athletic as the ‘next big thing’ to emerge from the Spurs academy production line - and a fine academy it is, given they’ve provided the game with so many top-level professionals over the last decade or so.
▫️ Clean sheet against Ansu Fati— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) November 30, 2020
▫️ Comparisons with Chilwell
▫️ Praised by in Mourinho in one first Spurs press conferences
Who is #THFC youngster Dennis Cirkin? @CDEccleshare, @JackPittBrooke and @Lilywhite_Rose tell us more...
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There’s no getting around the fact that Cirkin, at such a tender age and with no meaningful first-team experience behind him, is going to be expected to come straight into the first team at Sunderland and hit the ground running.
He is, after all, our only senior left-back currently.
Dan Neil has done a fine job covering that position in the absence of better available options, but Cirkin has been signed for decent money - he’ll be expected to jump straight into the action, and do his level best to show Sunderland supporters why he has so many admirers.
What Sunderland need are full-backs who do a bit of everything - Cirkin needs to be good going forward, but also when defending. He will, after all, have the task of covering for Aiden McGeady - and he isn’t a slouch, but he’s also not exactly the best at tracking back.
Here’s hoping he can inject a bit of pace and quality into the side in a position that, in all honesty, has been a bit of a struggle for us in recent years. As good as Denver Hume was at times, he struggled to stay fit and the side suffered as a result.
If Cirkin can prove himself as durable and reliable, our left-hand side this season could well be a force to be reckoned with.
The other important thing to consider is something I touched on in my piece on the site earlier today - that Cirkin is a young man, and young men have lofty ambitions, especially ones that have been through the England set up. League One is not his ceiling, and he’ll want to play Premier League and international football one day.
Whether he’s a teenager or not, having players with those standards in your team should rub off on those around them - particularly the other young players in Sunderland’s side, of a similar age, who want to make it here and make it at a higher level.
I can’t lie, I’m really excited about this one, and I think that if this is the kind of signing the club have promised us - someone with bags of potential that could develop into a real star in the game - that future business we’ll conduct before the month ends will see us bring in a similar level and profile of footballer. Deals that make more sense than paying £1m for someone who has never cut it above League One, or a striker on a free who has had one good season in the third tier; players who are capable of much more than playing at the level we find ourselves at currently.
It certainly bodes well and for that, I’m glad.
So, to Dennis - welcome to Sunderland, bonny lad.
Great name by the way.