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Roker Roundtable: Is a Sunderland return for Ellis Simms a transfer worth pursuing?

The Everton striker’s goal record during last season’s loan spell on Wearside was impressive, so should he be on our list of transfer targets this summer?

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Andrew Smithson says…

Assuming Simms is up for it, I’d be very keen to have him back at Sunderland. Bringing loan players back doesn’t always work, but this one would have a lot going for it in theory.

Age-wise, I think he’s going to want to start having regular involvement, and based on what we saw last season, I think there’s a player there that we could not only utilise now, but also help to improve further.

He scored some good goals for us and he showed that he can operate in a couple of different formations. Because we know that he’s comfortable at this level, it takes away some of the doubt that’s usually connected with a permanent deal.

Ideally, we need to bring in a couple of forwards, regardless of what happens with Ross Stewart, and if one of them was to be Simms, he could hopefully be up and running straightaway.

Knowing how we play and showing he can work within those systems takes a bit of pressure off the other signings and it would allow the coaching staff to spend more time with others. It would also mean we don’t have to rip up our game plan if Stewart does decide to leave or if he needed bedding back in gradually over time.

Simms was popular with the fans last year and as well as already understanding his teammates, he would also have a decent idea about the area and the club in general.

That head start would be a massive advantage and should help him settle quickly, and having shown himself capable of doing a bit of everything, he’s a striker I’d be excited to see back in red and white for 2023/2024.

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship - Stadium of Light Photo by Richard Sellers/PA Images via Getty Images

Anthony Gair says…

Whilst Simms is an impressive striker, and his statistics from last season claim that he was a big part of why we were in a strong position early in the season, I still feel like he didn’t fit our style of play.

I know none of that makes any sense and I’m not going to try and argue the reasons against it, but it’s just how I felt.

We need someone in the mould of Joe Gelhardt to help out Ross Stewart, but someone who’s quite obviously comfortable playing as a striker. Stewart and Simms were far too similar to play together, and I think that showed when they did manage to start alongside each other.

Let’s grab someone who wants to prove a point, and let him fight with Stewart to be part of the first team.

Malc Dugdale says…

Although Simms made a real impact last season, I’m a bit like my mate Gair.

He seemed to do well despite his style and ignoring the seemingly disjointed fit into the team, rather than because of it all just working well.

It may just have been the way he is and how he carries himself, but he often looked awkward and lethargic, and at times he came close to looking a bit lazy and disinterested.

That said, nobody can argue with his goal return, which was no doubt a large factor in his recall to Everton.

However, rather than go back over old ground, I’d like to see what else the recruitment team has on the menu.

With a team that can bring us attacking players like Simms and Amad, as well as other real finds like Pierre Ekwah and (probably) Jobe Bellingham, there’s no limit to what I now expect in terms of the parent clubs or the red hot potential we may see arrive from them.

I’ll always be grateful for what Simms contributed last season and if he did return I’d cheer him on. If he doesn’t, however, I’m very confident that we’ve got the tools and the structure to bring in others.

Now our philosophy is clear to all clubs on the market, I hope to see a host of young, ambitious and attack-minded players hoping to springboard their careers at Sunderland like Amad did.

Whoever comes in, I’m excited and optimistic that we’ll continue to thrive with loan and permanent signings alike. We’re a hot place to go for these young prospects, so let’s get them in and see how we fare.

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mark Wood says…

I wouldn’t be against it.

He did OK for us last season, although he looked pretty raw when he started off, but you could say the same about a lot of the players we brought into the team.

Despite his size, I thought he looked like he actually preferred to be running onto a pass than trying to lead the line in the same way as Ross Stewart, and he definitely seemed happier as part of a front two.

Once he got over his own long spell out of the team and he had to play upfront by himself, he always looked like he was in for a hard day at the office. It’s testament to his character that he never gave up in those games, battled hard and picked up a few goals along the way.

When he was recalled by Everton in January, I felt he could’ve done with another half season of regular starts. He wasn’t up to Premier League standard at the point, but he was more or less average for the Championship.

He isn’t on a par with Stewart at the moment, but if he was one of three strikers we recruited over the summer if the Scot was to leave, I wouldn’t complain.

However, in terms of him being the main striker we recruit, I have to say there are probably better players out there.


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