Sunderland could have a ‘goal machine’ on their hands if they can seal a deal for prolific striker Lawrence Shankland.
That’s the verdict of Ayr Advertiser reporter Stewart McConnell, who believes the former Ayr United man has all the ability to play at the Championship - if not higher.
The Black Cats have reportedly offered a contract to the striker, who netted 34 times last season, is attracting interest from the Scottish top flight and the Championship.
But if Sunderland can finalise an agreement - as reports suggest they might - McConnell feels it would be a real coup for the League One side.
“Lawrence Shankland is a goal machine and has a natural instinct for finishing,” he said, speaking to The Portsmouth News.
“He’s one of the most exciting players I’ve seen in four decades of watching Ayr. He’s explosive.
“Ayr took a gamble on keeping Lawrence knowing they’d lose him for nothing as a free agent.
“It will be a big deal for him wherever he moves, and when I spoke to him at the player-of-the-year night he was looking likely to move on and cut his teeth at a higher level.”
And while that higher level looks to be League One, with Pompey holding a strong interest in the striker, McConnell has back Shankland to shine at a higher level in the future.
“He could certainly play at Championship level in England, the Premier League we’d have to wait and see,” he added.
“He’s certainly got the potential if he keeps working at it.
“I could see Lawrence going into a team at League One level, getting them promoted and then having a shot at the Championship.
“Lawrence is always keen to develop his game and is a perfectionist. He likes things to go well and will get the team motivated and fired up.
“There’s no doubt he has very high personal standards and is a very determined player.
“From 2017 to 2019 he scored 50 goals in 61 appearances. That ratio would’ve been higher if he’d not been injured, too. It’s quite something.”