Ex-Sunderland striker makes shock Premier League prediction ahead of Championship return

Ex-Sunderland striker Louis Saha believes a Premier League return is a realistic aim for his former club next season.

By Richard Mennear
Friday, 1st July 2022, 1:22 pm

The Sunderland squad – boosted by the signing Thursday night of former Arsenal defender Daniel Ballard on a long-term deal – returned to training last week and head to Portugal towards the end of next week for two friendly games.

The new Championship season gets underway in a month’s time, Sunderland host Coventry City on the opening weekend.

And ahead of the new campaign, former Sunderland striker Saha, who spent time on Wearside between 2012-13, has made a bold prediction.

Luke O'Nien of Sunderland celebrates. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Saha, speaking to BonusCodeBets, said: “A Premier League return is of course realistic, because it’s such a big club.

"They have the infrastructure and the budget and it’s been done before.

"What they also have is experience, they’ve been there, they know what to avoid and what to do to reach the Premier League.

"The season is very long, it’s not a marathon, it’s an ironman!

"The amount of games and pressure is absolutely insane.

"Sunderland went through hell, so by establishing themselves in the top four until February/March, it would then help them to finish in a play-off spot.”

Ballard has signed a three-year contract to become the club’s first summer addition, representing a significant investment for the Black Cats.

Sunderland also hold the option to extend that deal for a further season.

The 22-year-old had been in talks with Burnley last week but Sunderland moved quickly when that switch did not materialise.