Sunderland AFC transfer news RECAP: What Lee Johnson said about Jermain Defoe, Patrick Roberts and Danny Batth ahead of Portsmouth clash

Lee Johnson held his pre-match press conference earlier today ahead of Saturday’s meeting with Portsmouth – and there was plenty to discuss.

By Joe Nicholson
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 3:05 pm

The Black Cats have completed the signing of centre-back Danny Batth from Stoke City, despite interest from other clubs.

Batth has opted to join the Black Cats on an 18-month deal, becoming the second signing of the January transfer window after Trai Hume. Sunderland have not paid a fee.

Johnson was also asked about transfer targets Jermain Defoe and Patrick Roberts in his press conference.


Scroll down to see what the Sunderland head coach had to say:

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RECAP: Lee Johnson press conference

Last updated: Wednesday, 19 January, 2022, 15:00

  • Black Cats head coach Lee Johnson held his pre-match press conference earlier today
  • Sunderland face Portsmouth at the Stadium of Light in League One on Saturday
  • The Wearsiders have completed the signing of Stoke City defender Danny Batth
  • Johnson was asked about transfer targets Jermain Defoe and Patrick Roberts

That brings us to the end of the TV section of the press conference but Johnson has also spoken to the written press - including our SAFC writer Phil Smith.

We’ll have loads more from the Black Cats boss over on the SAFC section of the Sunderland Echo website.

See you soon.

Obviously the last game was a very interesting one and we were out-fought and out-thought.

It was difficult for us and a difficult moment we had to bounce back from and we did .

I think this is a good test to see how far we’ve come from that day. There were lessons to be learnt on that day that we then took forward, from the back so that we didn’t leave ourselves as exposed both on and off the ball.

In one sense it was a good thing for us, although we lost three points.

I wouldn’t say we want revenge but we are keen to prove that we are a better team than when we played against them last time.

Your personal view - do you want Defoe at Sunderland?

I think it’s a difficult question because there are so many elements that go into that particular question.

You have the football side, the condition of the player in terms of game time, injury record, everything has to be looked at in fine detail.

Probably one of the biggest things is the connection between coach and player as well, I think that becomes really important.

I was always one, talking about Danny Batth and players we’ve brought in, I’ve always felt that connection.

Of course there is signing for the football club but the coach is picking the team.

So in principle of course it sounds like a fantastic idea but at the same time there are so many intricacies that have to be right for all parties to be able to be comfortable and happy with any particular signing.

More on Defoe - good commercially?

I’m never sure on the commercial effect and value of something like that and I never think you should make a signing based on commercials, but in terms of influence I think influence is immense.

To be able to bring a senior player in as highly decorated in terms of career, anybody, not just Jermain, who has been there and done it, of course young players will be bright-eyed and listening, whether that’s Danny Batth or the likes of Jermain Defoe.

You see it all over the world where top players go in at different levels and have an impact.

Johnson on Luke O’Nien

He was running and if you listen to Luke, he is a very positive character and is hoping to come back quicker than anyone else from that type of injury.

Fitness-wise I don’t think Luke will ever be a problem because he could probably not play for a full year and then step into a 90 minutes and not have an issue.

He’ll do bags of running between now and then and any boost like that would be massive.

Broadhead seems to be progressing quite nicely from all the detail we get back from Everton, which is good.

McGeady is tentatively joining in and getting involved with passing drills.

He’s quite a way off in terms of physical fitness and is also still getting a pinch in that ligament.

It’s also just nice to have him out there to try and design sessions to keep him engaged and happy.

We must have had nine injuries today in training, not bad ones so don’t worry.

There are all little contacts and all fine but I’m so scared going into every training session because we are so light at the moment.

We are getting stronger after some Covid cases, Leon Dajaku has come back and I thought he did really well considering he’d had one training session in 10 days.

Alex Pritchard was 50/50 before the game so we’ll have to judge him. Bailey Wright came out of it not 100 per cent.

Corry Evans was out against Accrington but we hope to have him back against Portsmouth.

As we stand today I couldn’t tell you the team and team shape and we are going to have to be flexible going into that Portsmouth game.

Johnson on Ollie Younger

There has been interest and is definitely a discussion point.

He’s a cracking lad Ollie and I’d always be championing him as a human being and a personality.

We Just have to decide what is right for Ollie and every bit of interest has to be taken on its merits, naturally first for Sunderland but also in conjunction with Ollie and his career.

Will there be more signings before Portsmouth?

We are in the mix and are spinning plates.

We’re there and it’s not like it couldn’t happen, it could happen.

Obviously there are people that have to do what is required to get that individual in and I think everyone is working really hard to do that.

I think a lot of people deserve a lot of credit for that.

Danny did have interest from Championship clubs and in League One.

I don’t think it was the highest financial offer for him which I think shows the quality of the man.

I think it’s good to add his attributes and quality to the group and we hope that will have a ripple interest on the squad.

Johnson asked about Patrick Roberts

He belongs to Man City, Patrick Roberts and although he’s a top player and interesting player it’s not something we can discuss.

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