There can be no arguments against the fact that Sunderland desperately need to find a new striker.
The recent signing of Ellis Simms was welcome, and although he didn’t get any game time during last weekend’s opening fixture against Coventry, it is likely he will feature in our upcoming matches.
Listening to the ‘Total Sport’ phone-in with Alex Neil on BBC Radio Newcastle last week was amusing. Although it was reiterated that no names will be mentioned by the manager in relation to transfers, there appeared to be a universal clamour for one name: Nathan Broadhead.
It is obvious that Broadhead is the number one target among the fans this summer. His exploits last season were very impressive, and he would certainly be a useful signing for the club if an agreement can be reached.
The word if in the sentence above is important, considering the rumours and gossip that continue to surround the Welshman. Everton appear to be digging their heels in, and there is no suggestion that there will be an announcement anytime soon,
It is quite clear that Sunderland are extremely interested in signing the youngster, but they do not appear to be alone, and there are rumoured to be numerous teams interested in his signature.
At the time of writing, reports from The Athletic suggested that Everton might even offer him a new deal:
Broadhead, a star performer as Sunderland won promotion from League One last season, is attracting interest from a host of Championship clubs, including a possible return to the Stadium of Light. Everton have offered the 24-year-old a new deal and have so far refused to countenance offers to part with him permanently.
Movement is expected on a loan destination soon.
One has to question the motive in offering Broadhead a new deal.
Is it to drive the price up of a permanent deal? Do they even have any intention of selling him?
Whilst acknowledging that the above article suggests there will be movement soon, one must question whether Sunderland are going to get burned should they wait around too long for one player.
Broadhead’s talent is unquestionable. He would suit Sunderland’s style of play perfectly, and it is clear that Alex Neil is a fan. However, you cannot overlook his poor injury record.
When he signed last summer, he was carrying a knock. This hampered his progress throughout the season, as he found it increasingly difficult to get a consistent run in the team, and only made his return from the bench during the playoffs.
When fit, his goal return was superb, with a ratio of almost one in two. The question is, can we trust him to maintain his fitness for a sustained period of time, and is it worth getting involved in a drawn-out saga in order to get the transfer over the line?
This particular saga reminds me of the time when Sunderland, under the management of Gus Poyet, chased Fabio Borini for an entire summer, to no avail.
In that situation, Sunderland were left short going into the new season and it was no surprise that the team struggled to score goals on a regular basis.
With that in mind, one would hope that the other transfer targets are on the club’s radar, because the addition of a striker is imperative as we settle into the Championship.
It is rumoured that Everton have a shortage of strikers themselves, due to injuries and suspensions, and it is doubtful that they will leave themselves short, considering their season starts this weekend.
Without questioning Broadhead’s ability, you do wonder whether getting involved in another transfer saga is worth it, especially if Everton are considering their options.
I have my doubts.