The defender managed 31 league outings for Millwall on a loan deal last season and really impressed with his performances in the Championship. Despite being just 22-years-old and having never graced the second tier previously, he thrived and became one of the standout young players in the division.
Having now returned to his parent club Arsenal, there is a chance of the defender being sent out on another short-term deal and it is Sunderland who appear to have the upper hand over a move as things stand.
Quiz: Which club did Sunderland sign these 24 players from in the 2000s?
The Black Cats are on the hunt for decent options in the Championship for next season having finally got that elusive promotion back to the second tier after years away. Alex Neil managed to help them to a play-off victory and he is now eyeing recruits that can help his new team to stay in that division for as long as possible.
Having seen what Ballard is capable of with the Lions, he now appears set to try and bring him in this offseason.
There is interest from Millwall again too, as well as other sides, but it does appear as though Sunderland are the side that are in front in the battle to sign him and that will be music to the ears of Black Cats fans – even if a deal is only on a short-term basis.
He did look likely to join Burnley at one point too – but with that move now off, it has opened the door for Sunderland to do business.
Daniel Ballard emerged as one of the surprise packages of last season with Millwall and was solid at the back for the Lions despite his age.
It is no surprise then that there is plenty of interest in him again this offseason. The defender has proven he can perform to the very top of the division and any side that does add him to their squad during this offseason would be getting themselves a very handy player for their backline.
If Sunderland could sign him, then it could be a good step in the right direction for the club. The side may have been strong in League One but the step up to the Championship is not always easy and they will need some second tier experience and knowhow in their ranks to avoid the drop.
Ballard ticks that box whilst also being a player who is young with the potential to get even better – and therefore it would be an astute signing for the Black Cats if they could pull it off.