Ats us nail! Irish teenage prospect Trai Hume has finally been confirmed as a Sunderland player after a mighty week of speculation - putting an end to what has been a fairly poorly kept secret.
Hume has joined the lads amidst much fanfare from the Linfield faithful, providing the Blues with some dazzling performances from right-back as they attempt to win their 56th league title. Linfield themselves have spent almost the entirety of their existence as one of Northern Ireland's premier clubs, proving to be a conveyor belt of talent on a consistent basis - so when the Windsor faithful shout about a player's talents, it’s usually wise to listen.
A somewhat marauding full-back as adept in attack as defence, Hume has thrilled the Linfield crowd in his feature season with goals and goal-line clearances - successfully building on his loan spell at Ballymena where he won Young Player of the Year at the sky-blues.
Building on his positive performances, Hume has also gained invaluable experience at multiple levels, including Champions League and Europa Conference League qualifiers level as well as a host of Northern Ireland youth caps.
Hume will offer Sunderland a bit of everything as he begins to forge a career in England football. With a good turn of foot and a good technical side to his game, Trai will be looking to add a further touch of class to proceedings.
Positionally Hume is very much a full back of the modern era and looks to get forward whenever possible, spending ample time high up the pitch. Coupled with technical ability and an eye for goal, it’s quite easy to see why Hume has been on the club’s radar for a number of months.
What makes the capture of such a sought-after and fawned-over talent all the more impressive is just how un-Sunderland like this business is. More so, this is an immediate continuation of the stellar work achieved in the summer window amidst a backdrop of change at the club. The signing of young prospects is, yet again, a far cry from previous recruitment strategies, and fulfills the modus operandi of the entire management structure at the club.
Committing Hume to a long-term deal also shows the confidence and belief the club have in such a young talent, as well as being shrewd enough to protect an asset Linfield fans fully believe will turn out for the GAWA for years to come.
All in all, Hume comes with a glowing reputation and with the world seemingly at his feet, which again feels unlike Sunderland. This, however, is a new Sunderland and a new dawn.
Hume emphasises this point and embodies what the club is trying to achieve.
Not only is his signature immediately beneficial, but it also feels like a statement from the board to the fans - long gone are the panic buys, deals to settle debts and short-term solutions to long-term problems.
Hume represents what Sunderland are now about - forward-thinking, ruthless in their efficiency, and with our sights set firmly on one very clear goal.
With all that said, it would serve us well to remember Hume is merely a teenager.
At 19 he’s still growing both physically and mentally, so patience and caution must be exercised. A very recent example of such patience should be that afforded to Leon Dajaku or therein lack of, who has silenced his critics with his scintillating performances.
It may transpire that Hume hits the ground running, or it may be the case he may need more nurturing than others but overall with his pedigree and the glowing reputation already attached to his name that Hume joins a host of young, exciting footballers ready to make a name for themselves at the Lads.