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 nearing the completion of a deal to bring Blackburn Rovers midfielder Corry Evans to The Stadium of Light, as reported by The Athletic.
The 30-year-old will soon undergo a medical in Wearside ahead of a potential move to The Black Cats.
Evans has over 250 Championship appearances to his name, adding a further 18 last season with Rovers. Despite seeing his minutes on the pitch decrease over the last couple of seasons, he has been a dependable performer for the Lancashire club.
The Belfast-born midfielder, who can also operate at centre-back, has also made 65 appearances for Northern Ireland and is the younger brother of Leicester City’s Jonny Evans.
Should Evans depart, he will be ending an eight-year tenure with the club after signing from Hull in 2013, and he has since made 206 appearances in Rovers’ colours.
With Sunderland looking to secure a deal with the versatile Northern Irish international, we asked the team at FLW about whether he would be a good signing for The Black Cats…
It’s actually a surprise to see a reliable, experienced midfielder like Corry Evans drop down to the third tier when he’s only 30 and would still have been a good option to have in the second tier for another couple of years.
Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised after becoming less of a regular player at Blackburn in recent years – but this could be a coup for Lee Johnson’s side who need reinforcements in the middle of the park.
Grant Leadbitter, Max Power, Josh Scowen and George Dobson’s departures make this position a vital area to address and while they wait for Ethan Galbraith to finish his training camp with Ole Gunnar Solsjkear’s Manchester United, bringing in someone like Evans could pay dividends for them.
Galbraith, if he does eventually arrive at the Stadium of Light, would learn a lot from Evans and this mixture of young talent and experience could be a winning combination for the Black Cats as they gun for promotion.
It’s great to see he’s already having a medical because Sunderland have struggled in the transfer market so far and this signing will help to ease fans’ nerves going into the next campaign.
This wouldn’t be a bad signing for Sunderland.
The club undoubtedly need to bolster their midfield ranks having bid farewell to the likes of Max Power and Grant Leadbitter at the end of last season.
Evans brings invaluable experience and really good pedigree to the Black Cats having played a number of times for Northern Ireland.
He provides defensive steel off the ball and is tidy on it, and could be the enforcer that Lee Johnson is currently missing in the middle of the park.
He’s at a good age and has been a steady performer at Championship level for a while now, and I think he’d be a shrewd addition.
Sunderland fans probably aren’t excited about this, but I think this is a smart signing by Lee Johnson.
A big point was made about new signings and recruitment being very much data-driven by new owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus, and you’d imagine that the club are still working on those kind of signings as they will take time.
But in the meantime Sunderland are bringing in some much-needed experience, first with Alex Pritchard who has done it at levels above League One and now Evans, who has amassed 65 caps for Northern Ireland and has played most of his career in the Championship.
The Black Cats released a number of midfielders this summer, leaving just Carl Winchester and Elliot Embleton as the recognised central midfielders plus Luke O’Nien if he is being moved forward from defence, so some more depth and experience was necessary.
Evans can bring just that but playing just 31 times in the league in the last two seasons is somewhat concerning for Sunderland fans – he’s struggled with injuries in that time but if he can be nursed back to full health then it is a good signing.