Sunderland are reportedly interested in signing Rochdale midfielder Ollie Rathbone this month, according to Football Insider.
The Black Cats manager Phil Parkinson is eager to overhaul his squad after a torrid first half of the season which has seen them off course in their pursuit of promotion back to the Championship.
Parkinson was appointed back in October and has his first opportunity to strengthen his squad and build a side that is more suited to how he wants to set up going forward.
There will be multiple players and positions that the former Bolton man will have set his sights on already but one player that he is reportedly keen on is Rochdale’s FA Cup star, Ollie Rathbone.
According to Football Insider, Sunderland are one of a handful of clubs who that are interested in the 23-year-old at Rochdale and the club are braced to receive bids as interest grows in him.
Rathbone was a star player for the Dale when they faced Newcastle United in the FA Cup and forced a replay after their 1-1 draw. Rathbone was instrumental in midfield and will feel unfortunate that he didn’t score a goal of his own at Spotland.
Coming through the ranks at Manchester United, Rathbone has now racked up over 100 appearances in League One. Sunderland do face competition, however, from fellow League One sides Ipswich and Portsmouth, along with Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers.
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This could be a very smart signing for Sunderland to bring in a player very much capable of performing at the top level of League One, where they need to be, come May.
It is yet to be seen whether Parkinson is eager on Rathbone specifically as he is keeping his cards close to his chest with names of targets, except for Kyle Lafferty.
What is certain is that this calibre of signing is one that the Sunderland fans can get on board with and helps them build a solid foundation to add more quality to the squad going forward.