Sunderland set to beat 'five clubs' to sign Everton striker Ellis Simms as Blackpool are left disappointed

Sunderland are closing in on a loan move for Everton forward Ellis Simms – but would he be a good signing for the Black Cats?

The 21-year-old has two years left on his contract at Goodison Park and made 21 appearances on loan at Hearts in the second half of last season.

Simms also impressed during a loan spell at Blackpool during the 2020/21 campaign, as he helped The Tangerines win promotion from League One, scoring 10 times in 24 appearances.

To find out more about the striker, we caught up with Matt Scrafton, Blackpool writer at our sister title the Blackpool Gazette, to get the inside track.

Ellis Simms playing for Blackpool during the 2020/21 season. (Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images)

How close was Simms to re-signing for Blackpool?

MS: “Blackpool were one of six clubs in the race for the striker. They had met all of Everton’s demands for a season-long loan but it was Simms’ decision to join Sunderland.”

How is he remembered at Bloomfield Road following his previous loan spell?

MS: “He’s still a huge fans’ favourite for the role he played in helping Blackpool win promotion from League One during the 2020/21 season.

"He hit double figures in half a season and scored five goals in his last four games during the final run-in, helping Neil Critchley’s side get across the line.

"Of course that season was played behind closed doors so only a minority of Blackpool fans got to show their appreciation to the striker in person during the play-off games at the end of the campaign, so most of his performances in front of the supporters came on iFollow!”

Where did he fit into the side and what's his best position?

MS: “He’s a striker that leads the line, an old-fashioned number nine.

"As far as I can remember that’s the only position he held and I personally wouldn’t play him anywhere else. He has the attributes to play up front on his own with support from out wide but he also did well for Blackpool in a front two.”

What were his strengths and areas where he could improve?

MS: “His pace and power are his most obvious attributes fans will see straight away.

"He’s excellent at playing on the last defender and using his strength to either roll the centre-back or use his pace to get past them with ease.

"He’s an instinctive finisher too and has a really powerful shot on him, so he’s dangerous from all areas of the pitch when he gets a sight of goal.

"His hold-up play was good during his time at Bloomfield Road and I’m sure it’s improved since then, but that’s a part of his game - his first touch - that could perhaps be worked upon.

Do you think he'll be a good signing for Sunderland in the Championship?

MS: “Yes, unfortunately! It’s a cracking signing for Sunderland. If he stays fit for an entire season I see no reason why he won’t score regularly.

"The fact Dan Ballard and Elliot Embleton are also there hasn’t gone unnoticed among Blackpool fans either!”