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Everton's English defender Phil Jagielka (C) vies with West Bromwich Albion's Nigerian striker Victor Anichebe (R) during the English Premier League football match between Everton and West Bromwich Albion at Goodison Park in Liverpool, north west England on February 13, 2016. / AFP / LINDSEY PARNABY / RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or 'live' services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.  /         (Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunderland The Front-Runners To Sign This Veteran Defender: Can He Help Muster A Turn-Around?

Sunderland are in a complete mess this season because of their awful performances and the way the club is being run. With their 1-3 loss at the hands of Stoke City last weekend, the Black Cats have suffered another blow and have fallen to the nineteenth spot in the league table. Of course, relegation seems to be a genuine threat to them, unless they pull something spectacular out of their hat for the remainder of the season.

David Moyes’ side have been leaky at the back and in order to keep themselves alive in the Premier League, they need to strengthen their backline to a considerable extent. They have plenty of tough fixtures ahead of them which will determine their existence in the top tier of English football beyond this season. Apparently, Moyes is interested in bringing Everton’s veteran defender, Phil Jagielka, to the Stadium of Light in the ongoing transfer window.

Everton’s boss, Ronald Koeman, is inclined towards devising promising youngsters in his first-team plans. Jagielka had been a regular face in the Toffees’ lineup ever since he cemented his place after his move to the Goodison Park in 2007 from Sheffield United. However, with the breeze of change at Everton, it should not be doubted that the 34-year-old’s importance has indeed fallen from the cliff.

Speaking in an unabashed manner, the Englishman hasn’t fitted pretty well under the tutelage of Koeman, but there is no dearth, as far as the prospective buyers are concerned, to make him put pen to the paper due to the traits he still possesses. The centre-back is good with tackles, interceptions, blocks and distributes the ball meticulously.

One must back him for winning the aerial duels considering his dominating physicality and he marks his targets to ensure minimal damage to his side. Probably, he needs to up the precision of his passes, ability to drive the team forward.

Sunderland are one of the worst affected sides due to Africa Cup of Nations, 2017. The unavailability of as many as three first team players, including their trusted defender Lamine Koné, implies that they need some like Jagielka at the earliest. At the moment, John O’Shea and Jason Denayer are the back-up options which are available to Moyes, with respect to the crucial central defensive slot, to be stationed alongside Papy Djilobodji and it didn’t work pretty well against Stoke City.

The Black Cats need a dramatic example to shake them out of their apathy, and thus, Jagielka is a much needed asset for them. He’s a leader on the pitch, knows how to get the job done, will pass on his experience, pump up the players and instil the confidence to avoid relegation. Moyes must not take a gamble of waiting for Koné to come back from his national commitments and instead, he must sign a proven gladiator like Jagielka with whom he has worked before to help him pull his side out of the doldrums.

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