This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict’ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
Sunderland are reportedly weighing up a move for former Nottingham Forest defender Eric Lichaj, according to journalist Alan Nixon.
Lichaj has most recently been on the books with Turkish side Fatih Karagümrük, but is currently a free-agent after his time with them reached a conclusion at the end of the 2020/21 season.
He’d be no stranger to English football though, with the full-back playing for both Nottingham Forest and Hull City earlier in his career.
A move to Sunderland could tempt the 32-year-old, as the Black Cats look to add additional strength in depth to their defensive options this summer.
They narrowly missed out on promotion back into the Championship last term, after a defeat to Lincoln City in their play-off semi-final.
We ask our Football League World writers what they make of Sunderland’s interest in signing Lichaj ahead of the 2021/22 campaign.
He’s certainly been around the block but he knows the Football League like the back of his hand, so you can understand why Sunderland are interested.
I think he would add some proven quality in an area of the team that really needs it and it would be a clever addition from that perspective.
I thought Lee Johnson would be looking for younger players this summer but it appears that expieence is what he is looking for.
Lichaj is someone who can do a job for a year or two and I think that will be one of the main reasons for bringing him in.
It’s a short term fix if truth be told but it could be a master stroke.
Despite playing in Turkey last year, the American full-back has a lot of experience in England, starting regularly for Nottingham Forest and Hull City in recent years.
And with Sunderland desperately needing a right-back after the departure of Conor McLaughlin and Luke O’Nien yet to sign a new contract, this would be an ideal agreement for both parties if they can get it over the line.
He may be 32 now, but Lichaj has performed consistently in the Championship and if they want to get back to the second-tier after falling short a few times in previous seasons, they need someone of his experience and expertise to guide them through a gruelling 46-game season.
We must remember the former United States international was captain at Hull City, so he will not only be useful for his playing ability, but also his leadership skills.
When experienced heads like Grant Leadbitter have left the Stadium of Light in the summer, this signing would be especially important after their disappointing play-off semi-final loss to Lincoln City.
The Wearside club is a sleeping giant – and this addition would be more than worth it if Lichaj can wake them up and take them a couple of steps further next season.
What was the score when Sunderland last played these 25 teams?
The Black Cats are in desperate need of a right-back even if Luke O’Nien signs a new contract as I have a feeling that if he does put pen to paper on a new deal, then I think he will be given a chance in midfield.
With Conor McLaughlin gone as well that has accelerated the need for at least two players in that position and Lichaj would bring a lot of experience in that department, especially at a level higher than League One.
The American was a regular for Hull City for two seasons in the Championship and the last season was only a year ago, so you’d imagine that he will be a top full back in the third tier.
It didn’t quite work out for Lichaj in Turkey as he made just 10 Super Lig appearances for Fatih Karagumruk before being released, and a return to England would probably be a good move for him.
The only downside is that Lichaj will be 33 in a few months time, so Sunderland will need to bring in a younger option as well but he would definitely be a useful acquisition.