Struggling to get off the bottom of the Championship points table, Chris Coleman’s Sunderland are in desperate need of an injection of quality into the first team and the January transfer window will give them a good chance to do exactly that, and save their season from embarrassment.
Not many players in the first team deserve to start regularly and the manager might be looking at players who can walk into the first team and help them to safety, come the end of the campaign.
So it does not come as a surprise that Sunderland are linked with some exciting stars for a move this month and one player now on their radar is Middlesbrough man Ashley Fletcher.
With funds not available too easily, the Black Cats might have to search for loan deals from bigger clubs and Fletcher fits the bill perfectly. According to reports from the Mirror, he is now a top transfer target for the Championship outfit this month. The likes of Barnsley and Norwich City are also interested in the 22-year old, who cost Boro around £6.5m, before the start of the season.
A product of the academy at Old Trafford, Fletcher failed to make a single league appearance for the Red Devils in his time in Manchester and quit the club to join West Ham in 2016. He made 16 appearances for the Hammers, most of them from the bench before he was picked up by the Championship outfit last year.
He has made just three league starts and two League Cup starts this season and is already in search of regular game time and the Stadium of Light will be a decent destination for him.
A versatile striker, who can also play on the wing, Fletcher is a target man, who loves to hold up play in the final third, to allow his team to join into the attack. He is smart with his movements in and around the penalty area, with and without the ball but his biggest strength is his ability to find the back of the net consistently.
He is quick and hard to mark and though is weak with his defensive duties, is a player who can excel in the Championship.
Coleman lost James Vaughan to Wigan Athletic already this season and also had to let Lewis Grabban leave back to Bournemouth already this month and Fletcher is a necessity at this moment. They were the two, first choice strikers for the side, who are now left with Duncan Watmore and Josh Maja as the only options to lead the line.
Fletcher can even walk into the first team but do you think he can get the Black Cats out of the drop zone?