Sunderland transfer news: Why Isaac Lihadji was allowed to leave Lille and what fans can expect
Sunderland completed the signing of French winger Isaac Lihadji last week – but what can they expect from him?
The 20-year-old has moved to the Stadium of Light for an undisclosed fee on an initial two-and-a-half-year contract, with a club option of a further year.
To find out more, we caught up with French football expert Jonathan Johnson who reports for CBS to ask about one of Sunderland’s new additions:
What sort of player is Lihadji and what are his main attributes
JJ: “Lihadji is a wide man who plays primarily in attack. Likes to cut inside so will often play on the right to use his left foot. He has decent pace, but has not kicked on as expected with Lille.”
What is his best position and can he play in multiple positions?
JJ: “Arguably out wide, although he has played in a more central role before too. I think that he will be best suited to playing on either wing, but he has that preference to cut in from the right.”
Why have Lille allowed him to leave?
JJ: “There have been issues with Lihadji and questions have been asked of his attitude. It sounds like this move was for the best both for player and club. He was seen as a coup when he arrived from Marseille, but he is yet to tap into his significant potential.”
How much of an impact did he make in Lille's first team?
JJ: “Not a big one, to be honest. He was allowed to leave more than a year ago, yet moves did not materialise until now. There is the feeling that he needs to relaunch his career both with club and country as he was previously a regular in French youth sides.”
How ready do you think he is to make an impact in the Championship at Sunderland?
JJ: “There is no doubting his potential and he is still only 20. However, his attitude needs to change and that will be key to him starting to live up to the hype. Once he is up to speed in terms of fitness, it will be interesting to see how he looks in the Championship.”