Sunderland legend Kevin Phillips has suggested that the Black Cats will be weighing up a potential permanent move for Everton forward Nathan Broadhead after his start to the campaign.
Broadhead arrived at the Stadium of Light on a season-long loan deal from Everton in the summer as they aimed to find some support for Ross Stewart in the final third.
The 23-year-old had to bide his time to get into Sunderland’s starting line-up in League One with him coming off the bench against Burton Albion, AFC Wimbledon and Fleetwood Town.
The forward was handed starts in the Black Cats’ League Cup wins against Blackpool and Wigan Athletic, and he managed to open his account for Sunderland in their 2-0 win at the DW Stadium with him producing a composed finish to give them the lead in the 26th minute.
Lee Johnson then handed Broadhead the chance to start in the league for the first time this season in their 5-0 thrashing of Cheltenham Town.
The 23-year-old was an excellent performer for the Black Cats against Cheltenham with him managing three key passes and completing two successful dribbles.
However, Broadhead suffered a hamstring injury during that win against Cheltenham and he has yet to return to action since he suffered that injury.
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Speaking to Football Insider, Phillips suggested that Sunderland would now potentially be considering a permanent move for the Everton loanee, although he admits the immediate target would be getting promotion.
He said: “Sunderland will have one eye on signing him permanently.
“But, ultimately, this season is about getting promoted. I think the plan will be to get out of that league and then to reassess.
“The club will always be working on the ifs and the buts in the background. They will be weighing up who they will sign or not sign in the eventuality that they go up.
“Broadhead looks to have settled in really well though. He is young and exciting. The fans have been crying out for a player like him.”
It did take some time for Broadhead to establish himself as a key member of Sunderland’s side in League One, but it seems that the 23-year-old has now fully established himself within Johnson’s plans and he could have a major role to play for the rest of the campaign.
Broadhead has shown a lot of glimpses of his potential and against Cheltenham and he managed to be a major creative force for the Black Cats during that win. It showed that he could potentially combine very effectively with the other attacking options available to Sunderland.
The 23-year-old is someone that needs to try and get regular game time now for his development and it is unlikely that Everton would be able to hand him regular minutes in the Premier League over the next few years when he returns from his loan spell.
Sunderland should be keen to re-sign him as Phillips suggests here and you could see him being a key target for them next summer if he returns to action and continues his form. However, it might be dependent on whether they secure promotion to the Championship.