Monday, January 30, 2023

Sunderland Interested In This Championship Star; A Good Move?

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Snehanjan Banerjee
Snehanjan used to a former columnist at The 4th Official. Fan of KK, Cricket and Liverpool (in no particular order).

Sunderland remain the only Premier League side who are yet to announce themselves in the summer transfer window mostly due to the managerial situation. Sam Allardyce was snapped up by the English national team to replace Roy Hodgson and the Black Cats immediately replaced Big Sam with David Moyes. The Scot’s reputation in the football world took a massive dip following his dismal days as the manager of Manchester United and he failed to revive his career in Spain with Real Sociedad.

Once the hero of Everton now has a big chance to revive his reputation in English football with the Black Cats. The Wearside club will be in a strong desire for a season when they do not have to deal with the daunting prospect of relegation. Premier League kicks off in two weeks’ time and Moyes has to act soon in the transfer market to bolster the squad at his disposal.

The Sunderland Echo claims that Sheffield Wednesday defender Tom Lees is attracting a substantial interest from the Wearside club. Looking at the squad of the Black Cats, it is as clear as daylight that Sunderland need a central defender severely. John O’Shea, Younes Kaboul and Lamine Kone are the three stoppers available right now for the Scotsman and it’s not possible to play a whole season with just three centre-backs.

Lees would be an addition of genuine quality to the North-East club. If you are a diligent follower of the English Championship, Lees would be someone you would be well-known with. The 25-year-old has been one of the standout defenders in England’s second tier for years now and is more than deserving for a step up to the bigger stage now.

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Lees made his progress from the youth academy of Leeds United and burst onto the first-team scene at a very young age. The 25-year-old is pretty experienced in Championship boasting 225 appearances for Leeds and Sheffield Wednesday combined.

The former English under-21 international is primarily a centre-back but is also comfortable of plying his trade as a right-back. Sunderland need a right-back this summer to compete with Billy Jones for first-team opportunities. Lees’ ability to play both as a central defender as well as a right-back makes him a solid addition to the Black Cats.

The 25-year-old is not the tallest of defenders but still excels in the air. Lees won an average of 4.6 aerial balls last season which is astonishing for someone who is only 6’1″. The Englishman needs to work on his passing which is not the worst but to thrive in the Premier League, you need to have a better passing accuracy than 74.8%.

Sunderland skipper John O’Shea is 35 now and they need a long-term replacement for the Irishman. Lees is just 25 and he is well capable of filling the former Manchester United defender’s boot on a long run. If available for a reasonable price, Sunderland have to make this deal happen.

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