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Roker Roundtable: Is Edouard Michu the kind of player Sunderland should be targeting?

The PSG midfielder has been linked with a move to Wearside in recent days. We asked our panel for their thoughts on whether he would be a worthwhile addition

Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

Phil West says...

I think it’s tremendous, and even if we aren’t able to strike a deal to bring Edouard Michut to Wearside, the mere fact that we are being linked with such a player really does show how far we have come as a club. Two or three years ago, the idea of Sunderland targeting a footballer from PSG as a potential signing would’ve been viewed as a joke, but this is a new era.

When the signing of Jewison Bennette was confirmed on Thursday, Alex Neil stated that the club’s vision is to unearth young talent and bring them to the Stadium of Light, and these two players fit that bill perfectly.

No longer are we targeting over-the-hill journeymen or footballers who are simply looking for an easy ride and a final payday. The new version of Sunderland AFC is clearly going to be a place where up-and-coming players are given chances to impress, and I am all for it.

If you cast your mind back a couple of years, when our recruitment was scattergun and the footballing infrastructure was a complete mess, the transformation over the past eighteen months has been incredible, and the best bit is that we are clearly at the tip of the iceberg.

Buying young talent for reasonable prices, helping them to improve, and then potentially selling them for tidy profits further down the line is exactly the kind of model that we should be adopting, and it could lead to some very exciting times in years to come.

Clermont Foot v Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Damian Brown says...

I’m still taking it with a massive pinch of salt, both in terms of whether it will happen and whether it’s a good move.

On the face of it, you have to be a little bit excited at the prospect of bringing in a talent from an elite club, but I definitely think temperance is the order of the day as things stand.

The best case scenario is that we get him, he shows up full of grit and gumption and then goes on to justify the belief his supporters have in him. The worst case scenario is that we blow a huge chunk of what has always been labelled a ‘restrained budget’ - if not a small one - and we roll our eyes and try to forget such an ambitious move.

There is a middle ground, of course, and there are many moving parts to consider.

The definition of an ‘affordable price’ for talent depends on how much we use to strengthen and solidify a team that is capable of achieving a stable, high-placed finish in this division, if not promotion at the first time of asking.

One would have to ask: if we spend X amount on a talent that we purely intend to sell on for profit potentially years later, what are we able to spend on players that will slide right into the team as it is and hit the ground running? I suspect - and I’m sure there’s a general consensus here - that the recruitment team aren’t naive and they haven’t been given a blank cheque with which to flood the academy in the hopes of wheeling and dealing youngsters like livestock, and hoping that when it’s all tallied up, there’s any kind of profit rather than loss.

A young man at such a comparatively high price brought in purely as a prospect is not the sort of business I’ve come to expect from the new regime.

If this deal does go through, therefore, I don’t think it would be reasonable to expect the Sunderland faithful to have endless patience, as has been asked in regards to some of the U23 reinforcements we’ve already brought in so far.

Moreover, I don’t think a player with that kind of CV and expectation on his shoulders would have the patience required to be developed outside of the senior squad. With that in mind, logic dictates that he would be something of a marquee signing for us right now. That’s a big burden for all involved to shoulder, and there would be a lot riding on that sort of deal.

Overall, of course I hope it happens and that Michut is a name that can be sung in the stands for many years to come. I just don’t know that it’s the route we’re going down right now.

Olympique Lyonnais v Paris Saint Germain - Ligue 1 Uber Eats Photo by Marcio Machado/Eurasia Sport Images/Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says...

The Edouard Michut link is really intriguing.

It sounds like he could be a cut above the type of signing we were making the last time we were in the Championship, and he certainly fits the bill in terms of the type of player we need to add to the current squad.

The club is making a bit of a name for itself at the moment when it comes to offering a suitable environment for young talent, or those that need a bit of TLC, and I think that could help sway any potential deal.

On the other hand, we do have to be a little bit careful about bringing players in from top clubs as it doesn’t always guarantee success, but I suppose any move comes with an element of risk.

This method at least offers a good chance of players having the ability and mindset needed to succeed, and I love the fact the club seems to be casting the net wide when looking for players, instead of just going down the same old short-sighted route.

I know it seems like an ambitious move, but why not go for it?

There’s no harm in trying, and if a package that suits all parties can be agreed upon, it would surely represent a pretty low risk and high reward move for all concerned. Fingers crossed!

Vannes OC v Paris Saint-Germain - French Cup Photo by John Berry/Getty Images

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