Sunderland are closing in on the signing of former Blackburn Rovers midfielder Corry Evans, as reported by The Athletic.
The 30-year-old played over 200 times for Blackburn during his eight-year tenure and has 250 Championship appearances to his name.
The midfielder, who is the younger brother of Leicester City centre-back Jonny Evans, saw his contract expire in late June and will be hopeful of returning to first-team football as soon as possible.
It has now emerged that Sunderland are keen on bringing the 30-year-old to The Stadium of Light, with The Black Cats waving goodbye to Grant Leadbitter, Josh Scowen, and Max Power this summer.
With Evans potentially joining The Black Cats, here are three qualities that Corry Evans would bring to Sunderland…
Being able to perform wherever required is an increasingly important attribute to have in the modern-day, and that is something Evans most certainly possesses.
A central midfielder by trade, he can operate both as a box-to-box midfielder or in a holding role. As well as his capabilities in the middle of the park, he has often stepped in at centre-back with no problems whatsoever.
Versatility has been vitally important within Sunderland’s camp in recent years. In particular, Luke O’Nien’s ability to fill numerous roles has helped his side out hugely.
With 250 Championship appearances under his belt, and a further 65 for Northern Ireland, Evans’ experience would be a massive boost for Sunderland.
The Black Cats have just lost two of their more senior players in Power and Leadbitter, and the possibility of bringing in a player with a vast experience of second-tier football would benefit the club greatly.
Sunderland’s current midfield options include Carl Winchester, who has never been beyond the third-tier, with teenager Dan Neil and 22-year-old Elliot Embleton also contracted – and the latter’s immediate future is yet to be determined.
A player who is as vastly experienced as Evans would therefore have the role of bringing maturity and consistency to the midfield.
As well as the Championship experience Evans has, he played an integral part in Blackburn’s promotion back to the second-tier during the 2017/18 season.
The 30-year-old featured 39 times for a club where there was immediate pressure to succeed. Following Blackburn’s relegation to the division the season prior, expectation levels were very high to bounce back at the first attempt – and they did. Should Evans make the move to Wearside, he will be met by those same levels of desire.
Energy levels out of possession
Being a midfielder is as much about the work off the ball than it is on it, and Evans is a player who has seemingly mastered both aspects.
The 30-year-old still has the energy and fitness levels to impress most at this level. This enables him and the rest of his midfielders to push forward and press high when out of possession.
This is an attribute that Lee Johnson would be particularly keen on seeing, given the club’s tendency to stop the opposition from playing out from the back.