In what may be seen as an incredibly ambitious move, Sunderland are attempting to make a permanent move happen for 2020-21 loanee Dion Sanderson, per the Daily Mail.
The 21-year-old defender impressed under Lee Johnson this past season and his performances attracted the interest of Championship and even Premier League clubs in recent months.
Even Sunderland’s biggest rivals Newcastle were scouting Sanderson before an injury ruled him out for the rest of the season in April, and his absence in the play-offs may have cost the Black Cats massively.
It does seem quite unlikely that Sunderland will be able to beat off their competition to sign Sanderson permanently, so let’s look at three alternatives the club could look at to bring in instead.
22-year-old Atkinson has proven himself to be one of the top centre-backs in League One this past season, but even though he can’t be solely attributed to any specific goals he was part of a defence that conceded six times in two play-off games to Blackpool.
Putting that aside, Atkinson is a tall presence and he’s also incredibly comfortable with the ball at his feet – and his skill-set is why the likes of Bristol City of the Championship are interested.
Oxford reportedly value him at £2 million though – would that be a stumbling block for Sunderland? Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has money but Atkinson could be seen as a very worthy investment.
Can you name the Sunderland player who has been carded the most in each of the last 16 seasons?
Another player who is attracting interest from the division above, Tucker won Gillingham’s Young Player of the Year award, having been a rock at the back for Steve Evans’ side, playing 43 times in the process.
The Sun on Sunday (23/05/2021, p59) reported that the promoted duo of Hull City and Peterborough were keeping tabs on the 21-year-old and he would likely command a seven-figure fee to prize him away from the Priestfield.
With an average of 2.7 per game this past season, Tucker lead the way for interceptions and that kind of that is very eye-opening when it comes to putting someone on your transfer radar and if Sunderland are serious about getting a young centre-back in and it can’t be Sanderson, Tucker may be the one.
If Sunderland want to go for some more experience though then Tom Lees may be a very good option, having left Sheffield Wednesday this summer following their relegation to League One.
The Owls may not have wanted to renew Lees’ deal but he’s still a solid consistent Championship performance on his day, and because of that he will probably have offers at that level.
However Sunderland have the finances to offer a decent contract and you’d imagine a move to the Black Cats if it came up would be incredibly tempting.