The Sunderland rebuild is in full swing after the club published their retained list yesterday, with seven senior players being released from their expiring contracts.
The likes of Chris Maguire, Grant Leadbitter and Max Power will all head out of the exit door of the Stadium of Light and if they can’t agree terms then Charlie Wyke and Aiden McGeady may follow them.
With spaces opening up in the squad, the incoming transfer rumours will now flow and a name that has already been linked with a move to the Black Cats is Ross McCrorie.
The Daily Record have reported that Sunderland are lining up the the 23-year-old in an £800,000+ move from Aberdeen in the Scottish Premiership, just months after he penned a permanent deal with the Dons from Rangers.
Is it a good potential move?
McCrorie has good pedigree having come through the Rangers academy and he played 41 times in the Scottish Premiership in two seasons for the Gers between 2017 and 2019, so he can clearly play a bit.
It’s hard to say whether or not it is a good potential move though – normally it’s a bit of a guessing game when someone moves from Scotland’s top flight to the EFL as the quality of the former is always put down – however McCrorie has Football League experience.
He spent last season on loan at Portsmouth but made just 19 league appearances, not being a regular starter at all.
McCrorie may have improved since then, but from the evidence of his stint at Pompey it’s not a signing that you think the club would be desperate for.
Can you name the Sunderland player who has been carded the most in each of the last 16 seasons?
Would he start?
At this current moment in time considering how little options Sunderland have in midfield he definitely would.
As mentioned before, Leadbitter and Power have both been released as well as Josh Scowen, so that leaves a massive hole in Lee Johnson’s engine room.
That leaves the head coach with just Carl Winchester and two players who spent this past season out on loan in George Dobson and Elliot Embleton, so major strengthening is required in this area.
If Sunderland spend almost a million pounds on McCrorie you’d imagine Johnson would see him as a starter, and the fact he can play at centre-back and right-back as well only strengthens those claims with both areas being weak spots.
What does he offer?
The main thing McCrorie offers is versatility – as mentioned he can play three different positions comfortably, similarly to Luke O’Nien who has been offered a new deal but may not sign it.
Aside from that, the Scot would probably bring a bit of calmness to the engine room – he’s never going to get many goals or be an attacking threat but he focuses more on the defensive side of the game and breaking play up.
That’s something that Sunderland were perhaps missing in the play-offs but if Johnson is given the money then he may have found the man to do that in McCrorie.