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Sunderland should look to offer wantaway player route back to the Championship: Opinion

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Sunderland are back in the Championship after four seasons down in League One.

Supporters of the North East club may have felt their time in the third tier would never end as they were twice beaten in the play-offs and once frustrated by a curtailed season.

They are now back in the second tier and though the talk among some enthusiastic supporters will be about consecutive promotions, ensuring they avoid relegation has to be the first target for next season.

Key to that will be making smart moves in the summer transfer window, which opened today.

Alex Neil needs to strengthen in plenty of areas to ensure his squad is Championship level and centre-back is among those.

In Bailey Wright and Danny Batth, Neil has two experienced heads that know what is required in the second tier but there are question marks over both Arbenit Xhemajli and Jordan Willis.

Callum Doyle was a regular fixture last season but has returned to Manchester City at the end of his loan spell meaning reinforcements are certainly needed.

A player that should be on Sunderland’s transfer shortlist is Barnsley defender Michal Helik.

He has established himself as a Championship qualify defender over the past few years and with the Tykes relegated to League One in 2021/22, the Black Cats can look to offer him a route back to the second tier.

According to the Yorkshire Post, Helik is one of multiple Barnsley players that are keen to leave the club this summer and with just one year left on his deal at Oakwell, the North East club may be able to get him relatively cheaply.

Quiz: Are these 20 Sunderland transfer facts true or false?

1 of 20

The club signed Trai Hume from Glentoran

The 26-year-old could be a mainstay in Sunderland’s defence for years to come, which would be particularly useful given Wright (29) and Batth (31) are not getting any younger.

Sunderland supporters may be hungry for ambitious moves that send a message to other clubs in the second tier about their aspirations but a smart addition like Helik could be the ideal start to the summer transfer window for the Black Cats.

The Poland international would surely jump at the chance to move back to the Championship, particularly with a big club on the rise like the Stadium of Light outfit.


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

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Sunderland should look to offer wantaway player route back to the Championship: Opinion

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