Jeremain Lens will be the wing man in Dick Advocaat’s favoured three-man strike force next season.
Dutch international Lens has spent the past two days training with his new team-mates after flying out to Canada on Friday, along with fellow signing Younes Kaboul, plus Adam Johnson, Sebastian Coates and Patrick van Aanholt.
Lens is expected to make his Sunderland debut in Wednesday’s friendly against MLS outfit Toronto, which will round off the Black Cats’ stint here in North America.
Advocaat spent £8million of his transfer budget to be reunited with Lens after previously working with the 27-year-old in the Dutch league at PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar.
The Sunderland boss sees Lens providing the creativity and pace from out wide which the Black Cats have been lacking in recent seasons.
However, Advocaat believes that Sunderland will need to persist with a 4-3-3 formation – which was used in each of the two friendlies in California – to get the best out of Lens.
Lens is not really a player for a 4-4-2Dick Advocaat
Advocaat said: “We have to think about whether we will stick with the 4-3-3.
“But Lens is not really a player for a 4-4-2.
“He can go in between the lines and likes going past his man. We don’t have that with (Connor) Wickham.
“Connor works his socks off, but he doesn’t go past players, he’s a different type of player.
“Lens is one who likes to chase players.”
The ex-Dynamo Kiev winger is expected to occupy the slot on Sunderland’s left flank, where he will form a lightning-quick partnership with left-back and fellow Dutchman van Aanholt.
Advocaat is open to using Lens on the right wing too, while he was also deployed as a central striker during their time together at PSV.
But with Adam Johnson and Will Buckley the only other natural wingers available to Advocaat, Lens will predominantly find himself out wide.
Advocaat added: “He can play left and right. He can even play as a striker, sometime I used him like that at PSV.
“But left or right is his best position because he is always a threat there. We haven’t had that.”