WITH Sunderland languishing down in bottom place at Christmas, the club has to face the fact that not many clubs manage to escape the drop when in this ominous position.
The squad Gus Poyet has to work with currently is not his own as he is working with the pieces assembled by his predecessor Paulo Di Canio.
However, the Uruguayan had a great track record at Brighton when it came to finding hidden gems and fitting them into his system. Moreover, with the January transfer window notoriously difficult to find ‘good deals’ Poyet must be stringent as to who he brings to the Stadium of Light.
In this precarious situation, the Black Cats cannot afford to squander money on unproven foreign imports that may need half a season to settle in.It would be wise to look for some Premier League experience or at least some fighting British spirit.
Here are three British players that Poyet should look to in January:
There is no denying that Phil Bardsley’s reintroduction into the Sunderland first-team set-up has been somewhat of a master-stroke by Poyet, but they are still missing decent cover in the full-back positions.
Naughton is comfortable on the right or on the left, much like Bardsley, and is apparently up for sale at Tottenham.
The English defender has been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light and although Sunderland are in more need of a solid centre-half, Naughton could be a good addition in January.
Poyet has also been linked with a raid on his former club, Brighton, for defensive midfielder Liam Bridcutt.
Bridcutt was a very important figure in Poyet’s team down South, receiving the ball from the defence and dictating the play from deep.
The Scottish international could prove a perfect foil for the likes of Ki Sung-Yueng and Craig Gardner and would take no time settling in to Poyet’s methods.
This deal could well go ahead, but one thing that may prove a stumbling block is the fact that Bridcutt has been itching for a move to the Premier League for some time and would loathe to be sent straight back down again if Sunderland are relegated.
The biggest problem facing Sunderland is that they are not scoring goals.
Steven Fletcher has missed the majority of the season through injury and may not rediscover his best goal-scoring form before it is too late. Jozy Altidore has been a less than inspiring signing and doesn’t look like he has 10-12 goals in him.
Sunderland need a battling brute of a centre forward and Troy Deeney could be the man the Cats are crying out for.
Over the last couple of seasons, Deeney has shown that he is a decent finisher and capable of leading the line on his own. Obviously, he is untested at the highest level, but currently in good goal-scoring form, Deeney has notched 10 goals in 19 appearances for a struggling Watford side this season. For a chance at playing in the top-flight, Deeney could be tempted by a move to the North East this January. The only problem would be convincing Watford to sell one of their prized assets.
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This article was written by FTBpro’s Richard Bell
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