The January transfer deadline day usually promises more than it delivers for Sunderland supporters, although last year’s was a bit of fun with late-night AOL stalking the day after Lee Johnson had got the boot.
Today, we’re looking in pretty good shape, but Ross Stewart’s apparent season-ender on Saturday makes another striker even more of a priority – and there are a few other questions that the recruitment team will be hoping to answer by the time the window (in best Jim White impression) SLAMS SHUT!
Will Ellis Simms return to the SoL?
The change in manager at Goodison Park has probably put us back a few steps in our pursuit of Simms – he can only play for us or Everton again this season, so if he’s going anywhere it’ll be to us. However, he’ll be low down on the list of priorities for the Toffees, and could fall through the cracks as they attempt to strengthen to stave off relegation. An incoming striker could see the departure of Simms sanctioned, and I think we’ll be pushing for a permanent deal. While loan players such as Amad are a no-brainer, we’ve also brought Geldhert in on loan and I much prefer to see us develop our own. Certainly a possibility.
If not Simms, then who?
We were linked with Forest’s Sam Surridge earlier in the window, but he’s made a few appearances for them since so will probably stay put. An interesting one is Hibs’ Kevin Nisbet. He turned down a move to Millwall last week, and while Wigan have also been linked it’s rumoured he could arrive at the SoL. He’s been out for a while with injury, but has scored eight in seven upon his return, so could be a possibility.
Joe Anderson set to arrive – but could it be farewell to Bailey?
Another aspect of the Nisbet rumour is that Lee Johnson wants Bailey Wright at Hibs – so a part-ex deal could be attractive to both sides. Wright’s likely to depart, I reckon, and with Everton’s versatile young defender Joe Anderson due to complete his move today I suspect we’ll see Bailey leave the club – which will be sad, as he’s been important in our revival, but isn’t good enough to command a regular place.
What does the future hold for Alex Pritchard?
Pritchard’s another who could possibly move today – although he’s been out for a few weeks with an injury, which may have put the brakes on an exit. He’s out of contract this season, and with the players we have and have brought in so far he’ll struggle to get a regular game. He’s been linked with a move to Stoke to team up again with The Snake, which isn’t beyond the realms of possibility. As long as we charge them top dollar.
Will we go for some experience?
While we’ve got a firm focus on young players, the potential departure of Wright and Pritchard, plus the injuries to Evans and Stewart mean our ‘experienced’ group is lacking. A key part of our strategy is to supplement the young players with a core group of experience, and we saw the experienced Danny Batth arrive last year. If the deal’s right, I wouldn’t be surprised to see experience in some form...
Any other positions we need to cover?
As well as a striker and a defender, I would like to see us bring in a keeper. Patterson’s been excellent in the main this season, but we’ve got little depth beneath him and have been lucky he’s stayed fit. An experienced keeper to challenge Patto would be a welcome addition.
What about players leaving on loan?
There are a few that could well leave to get some game time elsewhere. We’ve already seen Jay Matete depart, and Niall Huggins would certainly be one who could benefit from regular football. An interesting one could be Jewison Bennette, who’s struggled to get a game ahead of Jack Clarke. Maybe he could benefit from a spell elsewhere in England, but I think he’s more likely to stay put.