PVA to Crystal Palace, Oviedo from Everton - Replacement an Up or Downgrade?


Sunderland have survived many Premier League seasons with distinctly average full backs. For long periods we have resorted to shoehorning natural midfielders, usually unsuccessfully, in these positions; Kieran Richardson, Jack Colback and Craig Gardner for example. With the exception of Danny Rose and Marcos Alonso's loan spells, we have managed to maintain our Premier League status without ever being flashy at full back.

Having a marauding full back that chips in with some goals and assists like Patrick van Aanholt is a very nice asset when it works. PVA was particularly effective under Sam Allardyce, playing his best football during the second half of last season where he actually looked like a defender as well as an attacking threat. This season, he has struggled and it's not the first time he has done so for Sunderland. Dick Advocaat dropped van Aanholt at the start of last season because he cost us a few goals and he has done that quite a few times already this season, see Reece's analysis for specific examples.

Perhaps Allardyce will be able to draw similar performances from the Dutchman at Crystal Palace, but for Sunderland at least there is little to complain about should the transfer of Bryan Oviedo materialise as expected.

The Costa Rican is a more accomplished defender than van Aanholt is. His Everton career was very stop start, primarily due to injuries, but is generally well thought of on Merseyside - particularly after his winner against David Moyes' Manchester United.

It does feel like we enjoy signing footballers with worrying injury records and it is those injuries which prevented Oviedo from staking any significant or long-lasting claim to a place in Everton's starting eleven. Between January 2014 and January 2016, just a month after that memorable winner against United, Oviedo spent a total of 470 days, missing 54 games, due to injury.

Sunderland have already suffered injury number 4,000 for the 2016/17 campaign with Victor Anichebe injured once again. Moyes' injury history in general is appalling as I wrote about more extensively last week and you would be forgiven for scepticism over our ability to keep Oviedo fit. Whatever your feelings over van Aanholt, and £14 million is certainly far too much money for him, he was one of our naturally fittest footballers - something invaluable given that we have so many senior injuries.

In short, we are probably upgrading defensively by replacing PVA with Oviedo and getting some decent additional coin to boot. However, we are downgrading offensively - which is a worry given how few goals we scored - and Oviedo is far less likely to see out the rest of the season fit.

Good or bad change? We love a poll, so why not vote in the poll below.
PVA gone, would you be happy with Oviedo as the replacement?
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