This summer is one of immense importance for Sunderland as they look to finally get out of League One in the 2021-22 season.
The Black Cats have already spent three full seasons in the third tier of English football and Lee Johnson is trying to put together a squad that will be capable of getting them promoted to the Championship for the following campaign.
To do that, Johnson has let go a whole host of his squad which includes experienced players such as Max Power and Grant Leadbitter, whilst he’s also lost the prolific Charlie Wyke despite the club offering him fresh terms.
Wyke was in-demand this summer and it was expected that he’d turn down Sunderland for a crack at European football in Scotland for Celtic, however to the surprise of many it was Wigan Athletic who won the race for the 28-year-old’s signature.
Now that Wyke will be lining up in the blue and white of the Latics this season, Sunderland now need to find a new striker to replace all of his goals, and it may take a couple of players or a team effort to do that.
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Ross Stewart and Aiden O’Brien are the current options and whilst permanent signings may be explored, Sunderland should be looking to exploit the Premier League loan market like they have done already with Callum Doyle’s arrival from Man City.
The place where Sunderland should be looking for a new striker is the Premier League 2 competition, where talented youngsters hone their craft until they’re given a first-team opportunity or they’re ready for a spell on loan, and in Sam Greenwood at Leeds United there’s a player who could fit the bill at the Stadium of Light.
Out of all the other potential options from under-23 teams across the country, Greenwood has been singled out here for a few reasons – the first of which is because he’s Sunderland born and bred.
The 19-year-old played for the Black Cats academy until 2018 when he was snapped up by Arsenal, and then two years later he swapped the Gunners for Leeds.
Greenwood was a regular for Leeds in the Premier League 2 last season, showing his prolific side by netting 12 times in 18 games (transfermarkt) for Mark Jackson’s side as they finished top of the Division Two standings.
Standing at 5ft 11in, Greenwood doesn’t exactly possess the height or aerial ability of Wyke, however what he does offer is a real goalscoring touch, a cracking turn of pace and also the ability to finish with both feet.
Sunderland will probably need a player who has prowess in the air as well but they need a younger, pacier option as well and Greenwood ticks all kinds of boxes and Johnson should be doing all he can to bring him back to Wearside.