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“Seems like a no-brainer” – Alex Neil eyes Sunderland reuinion with former favourite: The verdict

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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 keen on free agent goalkeeper John Ruddy, according to the Sunday Mirror (05/06: p69).

The Black Cats are preparing for life back in the Championship and are keen to strengthen their goalkeeping options after Lee Burge was released and Ron Thorben-Hoffman’s loan deal came to an end.

It is understood Ruddy, who left Wolves this summer, is a target with Alex Neil seemingly keen on a reunion after the pair worked together at Norwich City.

But would he be a good signing? And would he start?

Our FLW writers issue their verdicts…

Charlie Gregory

John Ruddy interesting Sunderland isn’t a surprise when you consider the fact that Alex Neil has worked with the player before at Norwich and is aware of what the shot-stopper can do.

Perhaps the one surprise is that he is signing a player who is now 35-years-old and might not be 100% match fit because of the fact he has struggled for action recently. If he plans to use Ruddy as a backup who can aid the rest of the first team in terms of his leadership and passing his knowledge onto other keepers then great.

If he plans to use him as a first-team option – which I wouldn’t be surprised at – then it could work well but it’s a bit more of a gamble. Ruddy certainly has plenty of Championship experience and could help keep the Black Cats up with his know-how but is he still up to scratch on a regular basis in the second tier?

It could be a solid signing considering it’s a free transfer and what he could offer to the Sunderland group as a whole but whether he is a regular first-team option is a bit iffy.

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Declan Harte

Ruddy would bring a lot of valuable experience to the Stadium of Light should he sign this summer.

The goalkeeper has been an able deputy at Wolves in recent years and has shown he still has the talent to be a first-choice shot-stopper when given opportunities.

This would be a great signing for the Black Cats, who lack the required talent in that position.

While it wouldn’t be a signing for the long-term, he could bridge the gap for a season or two.

Ruddy also knows Neil well from their time together at Norwich, where the 35-year-old proved he was a Premier League calibre keeper, so he should relish the challenge of working with the Sunderland boss again.

Adam Jones

It will be interesting to see whether they can match his wage demands.

If they can tie him down to a modest contract, then it’s a move well worth making with Antony Patterson potentially needing an experienced head for competition.

Some would argue that the Black Cats should take the opportunity to splash out on a longer-term addition in the goalkeeping area now they’re in the Championship, but they also need to address other positions.

This free addition would make sense for the Wearside outfit and with Alex Neil working with Ruddy at Norwich, this seems like a no-brainer.


London-based sports journalist at Snack Media EFL accredited, graduate of New Associates and the University of Brighton

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: “Seems like a no-brainer” – Alex Neil eyes Sunderland reuinion with former favourite: The verdict

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