Kristjaan Speakman and Alex Neil have been slowly building Sunderland a squad capable of competing in the Championship this season.
The Black Cats won promotion to the second tier via the play-offs and have added one new player to the group from the 2021/22 campaign.
Daniel Ballard has come in from Premier League side Arsenal to bolster the backline, whilst Jack Clarke and Leon Dajaku have both signed on a permanent basis following their loan spells at the club.
One player they have been linked with a swoop for is Brighton wing-back Reda Khadra. The 21-year-old is a versatile gem who can play at wing-back, in midfield, up front, and on the wing.
Alan Nixon has claimed that the Black Cats are one of the teams eyeing the talent, who was on loan at Blackburn in the second tier last term.
Should Sunderland sign Khadra?
By securing a swoop to sign him, whether that is permanently or on loan, Neil can land an upgrade on current utility wing-back Lynden Gooch.
Seagulls boss Graham Potter previously profiled the gem, saying: “He’s a bit different to what we have. He is more of a direct wide man, likes to give width and attack the full-back. You saw that one action (at Manchester City) where he drives, gets in the box and cuts it back.
“In the under-23s, he’s done that well. It’s only his first season with us. He’s another one that has got interesting attributes, some qualities.”
Khadra showcased his attacking quality in the Championship last term as he produced four goals and assisted two in 18 starts at Rovers. This shows that he has the ability to make an impact in the final third at that level, making him an excellent option to have at wing-back.
Meanwhile, Gooch did not find the back of the net once and provided six assists in 36 starts for the Black Cats in the third tier. This means that it took him almost 20 matches to equal the Brighton man’s attacking output, whilst playing in a lesser league.
Therefore, the German would be an upgrade on the American as the statistics suggest that he has more to offer on the ball at Championship level. If Neil opts to go with a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 formation then he could be an exciting player to have bombing up and down the flanks next season – delivering goals and assists and getting fans off their seats with his direct play.
AND in other news, Big blow: Sunderland dealt pre-season injury setback that’ll leave Alex Neil gutted…