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Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

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Roker Roundtable: What kind of strikers should Sunderland be targeting this summer?

With further attacking reinforcements a must, we asked our writers how many centre forwards are needed this summer, and what kind of striker would best suit our style of play

Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dan Harrison says...

This falls into two categories: whether Ross Stewart stays or goes.

If he stays at the club, I think we’d need one main secondary striker and potentially a winger who can double up as an auxiliary forward when needed. Morgan Whittaker fits this profile, as he’s got the strength and height to operate as a number nine when required.

However, if Stewart leaves, I definitely think a statement of intent is needed from the club as we can’t afford to see the story of last season unfold once more.

Two first team strikers will be needed at a minimum as we can’t start the new campaign without a prolific forward leading the line.

I’ll stress that I’d much prefer that we picked targets strategically when identifying those who fit the model. We’ve moved beyond panic buys, even if Stewart moves on in the latter stages of the summer window.

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

Paddy Hayes says...

The answer is solely dependant on whether or not Ross Stewart stays at Sunderland.

Providing Stewart does stick around, I’d say that adding two strikers to our current squad would represent a productive transfer window.

I’d expect both reinforcements to be in line with our recruitment model, with an Ellis Simms-type player coming in to play alongside or at least challenge Stewart. In addition, a younger player akin to Jewison Bennette, Joe Anderson, and Isaac Lihadji, who’d be considered more of a future investment.

Stylistically, a striker with a skillset not too dissimilar to that of Stewart, who can work the channels, is clinical in front of goal, and can hold it up and make space for others to run in behind.

Not much to ask!

Phil West says…

Two new strikers are needed this summer at the absolute minimum, and a third would be even better.

Personally, I think that Ross Stewart will still be a Sunderland player when the transfer window closes. If that’s the case, we’ll need to be able to support him, provide him with some competition and ensure that any further injuries don’t scupper our plans for the season.

In terms of the profile of player I’d like to see us bring in, I’d agree with Paddy. A target man in the Stewart mould would be ideal, even if the task of finding a like-for-like player who can match his skillset will be immensely difficult.

With that in mind, I’d love to see us explore the possibility of a permanent move for Ellis Simms.

He did take some criticism during his time here and in comparison to Stewart, he wasn’t the most dynamic centre forward, but his goal record was impressive and over the course of a full season, I’m convinced that he’d be a reliable source of goals, assuming the service into him is of a good standard.

I’d also like to see us bring in a speedy, elusive striker who can play off the shoulder of opposing defenders and finish off any knockdowns and flick ons- essentially the kind of player we hoped Joe Gelhardt would be.

We’ve been linked with a move for Benfica ‘B’ striker Luis Semedo in recent weeks, and he could well be the classic goal poacher that we’ve lacked for quite a while. Perhaps there’s something developing there and if there is, so much the better.

In any case, I trust that those making the key decisions are aware of what we need and will be casting the net as far and as wide as they need to in order to provide greater depth in what’s often been a problem position.

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


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