According to the reports from the Scottish Sun as cited by The Shields Gazette, Sunderland are keeping track of 23-year-old striker Lawrence Shankland. The report also adds that Championship outfits like Hull City, Nottingham Forest, and Swansea City are also interested in this in-form forward. The Scotsman currently plies his trade for Ayr United, a team which plays in the Scottish Championship.
The forward is in the final few months of his contract and he will be a free agent in the upcoming summer. So we can expect a frenzy for Shankland as he is having an impressive season for the Scottish outfit. The forward has already managed 30 goals in all competitions along with eight assists in 30 games.
Ayr boss Ian McCall had suggested last month that they are unlikely to keep hold of their goal machine after the end of the season. The manager had said, ”I think Lawrence will just wait until the end of the season. Ultimately that will be up to him and his agent. But I think he’ll just wait until the end of the season and top up who’s in and just make his decision then.”
Ayr United are currently occupying the second spot in the Scottish second tier, and Shankland’s performance is one of the reasons why they are in an excellent position to move to the top division by next season. Sunderland themselves are fighting to get to the Championship and are in the mix to move to the English second tier.
Ever since Jack Ross arrived at Sunderland, the Black Cats have been linked with quite a few Scottish players, and it is clear that Ross’ knowledge of the Scottish leagues is coming in handy at the Stadium of Light. The Wearside outfit recently sold Josh Maja to Bordeaux and acquired the services of Wigan Atheltic’s Will Grigg last month.
Sunderland also signed Kazaiah Sterling on loan from Tottenham, but the young forward would return to the North London club at the start of the next season. Therefore it makes sense for Ross to target another striker in the summer and Shankland’s goalscoring prowess are hard to ignore at the moment.
With Championship outfits in the mix, it goes without saying that Sunderland would have to get promoted from the League One to lure an in-form striker like Shankland. Clubs like Hull City, Nottingham and Swansea, would be expected to fight for the playoff spots by next season. Therefore, we don’t see Shankland joining Sunderland in the summer if they fail to move up a division.