Sunderland are in dreamland still, having finally sealed a promotion back up to the Championship after years away from the second tier.
Alex Neil is the man to have finally led them there and the former Norwich and Preston boss isn’t going to be messing around this summer.
He will need to make sure his side is up to scratch in order to avoid a relegation fight and if anyone knows what it takes to compete at the top end of the division on a modest budget it is Neil.
One name who has been thrown into the ring over a potential move is Reda Khadra, The player lined up for Blackburn in the Championship last season and after managing a return of six goal contributions in 18 league starts for Rovers, Alan Nixon is now reporting via his Patreon that the Black Cats are keen to sign him up.
But would it be a good deal and would he get gametime for the club?
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Is it a good potential move?
For a side like Sunderland who will need some creative verve, attacking power and second tier experience in their squad, Khadra would bring all three of those things to the side.
In that respect then, it would certainly be a good move by the side. Khadra is young and hungry, eager to prove himself in the second tier and to his parent club. There were glimpses of what he is capable of for Blackburn but he will feel he can do plenty more if given the chance.
Having now become accustomed to the league, he will feel he can improve his tallies if given the chance with a team like Sunderland. If they want an extra body in attack who would be determined to bang in the goals, then Khadra is the man for the Black Cats.
Would he start?
It would be hard to shift Ross Stewart from the starting lineup, even though the player is unproven in the Championship.
After banging in 24 league goals in League One last season, not many forwards would be able to unseat Stewart as Sunderland’s main goal threat going into the new season. He’ll be eager to prove he can do it a division higher and has earned the right to do so too.
Khadra could though be used on the wing and with the likes of Aiden McGeady having departed, there could be room for the youngster on the flanks. In that respect then, he could be thrown in from day one.
As a forward though, he may have to work his way into the side and would likely be a rotation option at first (unless Neil plans to use a forward alongside Stewart, although he didn’t in the play-off final against Wycombe).
What does he offer?
Khadra offers plenty in attack and has arguably produced his best football as a centre-forward (which is why he might have to unseat Stewart or play alongside him to produce his best football).
However, if he does have to settle for time on the wing, then it shouldn’t be a worry. Khadra has shown he can have excellent close control and dribbling abilities, with the player not afraid to take on opponents and try and beat them in one-on-one situations.
That is why he can also be used on the flank – because he is not afraid to drive at opposition defenders, which is a big plus point. In addition, he isn’t afraid to test the goalkeeper either.
Some players tend to get near the opposition box and freeze up, preferring to pass or offer the ball to a teammate. Khadra though has proven he can be adept at working a chance for himself and having a crack at goal if he feels the timing is right.
If Sunderland want someone who isn’t afraid to get the ball forward and try and test the goalkeeper – who is also experienced at knowing what works in the Championship, having scored there last season – then they could do a lot worse than Khadra.