Where would Sunderland be without the January transfer window? Without Kone, Khazri and Kirchhoff it would not have been a pretty ending.
Khazri single-handedly paid his transfer fee with that fantastic volley against Chelsea whilst Kone and Kirchhoff stemmed the goals conceded. Bring us forward a year and Sunderland need yet more smart business to keep out of trouble. So, which band of potential saviours are they considering?
The Norwich left-back/left-mid is said to be in negotiations with a fee of around £10 million on our part with other clubs offering closer to £13 million. As a former Hull man, he played solid Premier League football with both clubs over the years; scoring 6 and assisting 5 in the top flight. His Championship form is fairly impressive also, racking up 3 goals and 4 assists this season. As an international for the Republic of Ireland, it is quite clear the boy has talent.
Is he right for Sunderland?
It is plain to everyone that we need cover for Van-Aanholt. He has a real attacking flair, but leaves us so open I'm certain you could fit several dumpsters of Ellis Short's burnt money behind him. I'm not saying he's bad, I am actually quite fond, but as a left-back his talents are limited. Brady might be able to fill that gap. Flexible and hard-working mentalities go a long way with Sunderland in their annual relegation scrap. Where the deal falls short (pun-intended) is the money. £10 million may be better used to find a better out-and-out defensive left-back. Not only that, but with such limited funds, splurging what would most certainly be a hefty percentage of our transfer budget on a single player seems a little careless.
Having spent 10 years at Everton, it seems the 34 year old is attracting attention from the man who brought him there. Valued at around £3 million, naturally the price would probably inflate a fair amount with any bid. He has been a great centre-back for years, sitting steady on the Everton team sheet until this year.
Yay or nay?
The main crux is the price for a player of his age. I was sceptical at first. He isn't growing any younger and paying a high wage and higher fee wouldn't justify a transfer. However, last evening I was thinking - as I often do after one to many fajitas - it may be a great transfer for the right price. Consider the year Kaboul spent at the club. The man took a commanding lead of Kone, Yedlin and Van-Aanholt to shore up the defence in the second half of the season. If Jagielka could take up a similar role, preferably making Djilobodji not look like he accidentally fell into the wrong sport, it may help solve the defensive issues. Take the transfer with a pinch of salt however, the tabloids have a lot of fun dragging the name of every player who ever signed for Moyes into the picture.
One of the more exiting transfer rumours, the centre-attacking midfielder plays for Montpelier in Ligue 1. He is rated at upward of £7 million, though I would place him closer to £10 million with inflation of Premier League money. So who is he? Well, from his stats this season, pretty great! 7 goals and two assists from midfield is some very impressive form, luckily for us, he has been dropped by Algeria and would be available over the next few weeks.
An easy pick?
No. He is an exiting prospect, still only 26 and with plenty of ability to offer should make an obvious selection. Yet, buying from the French league is a risky business. Kone was generally a success, but Khazri has been struggling this season. Ndong draws the bulk of my scepticism though. £13 million! Is that a joke? That performance against Man United was so revolting I firmly buried my head in a wall. He is steadily improving, but that much money could have been invested in so much more. Boudebouz has a good record and offers more creativity in midfield, it may be worth the risk.