Saturday, February 4, 2023

Sunderland Eyeing This La Liga Striker: Can He Share Defoe’s Burden?

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Subhayan Dutta
Subhayan used to be the Featured Columnist at The 4th Official. Completely immersed in football and almost all other sports on planet.

After a horrific start to their season, Sunderland have found some poise in their league campaign (until Swansea came along a few hours ago that is). They have won three of their last five games and if the team can pick up wins every now and then instead of going on long winless runs, they should see themselves out of the relegation zone soon.

With no more international breaks till March and FA Cup starting next month, the schedule will become hectic and teams with good squad depth will eventually survive. The Black Cats, who have been heavily reliable on Jermain Defoe so far, are looking to ship in more options on their attacking front. And their search has reportedly led to La Liga forward Florin Andone.

The Deportivo La Coruna striker has been good this season scoring 5 goals and registering one assist in 13 appearances so far and has a shot accuracy of 65%. He has often been a threat from indirect set-pieces and could dribble past defenders with relative ease at times. He likes to advance through short passes and has decent finishing abilities.

Although he is not the vibrant of figures out there in the attacking third, his positioning and composure on the ball have attracted suitors. The Romanian striker also possesses an unparalleled stamina, which could come in handy in Premier League. He is 23 and there is a lot of room for improvement.

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Andone’s current market value is 2.5 million euros and he won’t amount to much if Sunderland are weighing a move for him this January.  However, he has just joined the La Liga side this summer from second-tier Spanish side Cordoba CF and Deportivo la Coruna wouldn’t be much willing to let him go until a good offer comes their way.

At 182cms and 78kgs, Andone has the physical traits to fast adapt to the English style of playing and as Sunderland are seeking players who could enter the first team directly, he could be a suitable candidate. However, it is his defensive attributes that are a concern here.

Andone seems to be quite week in man marking and tackling, and although those are not the quintessential qualities a striker needs, it is always a huge bonus in the Premier League. Andone seems to mistime his tackle often, which explains his yellow cards this season so far.

Sunderland, however, won’t compromise with a quality striker as the heavy legs of the 34-year-old Defoe could get brittle with overplaying. And, with Victor Anichebe the only other option in the centre-forward position, Moyes will be more than willing to bring in a bright prospect like Andone.

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