Sunderland transfers: Four players that could leave during the January transfer window and why

The World Cup is underway with the January transfer window just around the corner – but are there any Sunderland players that could leave?

Tony Mowbray’s team are currently in Dubai during the mid-season break with head of recruitment Stuart Harvey and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman eyeing the upcoming window to strengthen.

However, January also provides an opportunity for Sunderland to offload players on the fringes of the squad ahead of the second half of the campaign. Here, we have a look at the players who could leave the club in January:

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Max Thompson

Sunderland midfielder Jay Matete battles for the ball during the Championship game against Watford at Vicarage Road.

Max Thompson’s name is one most Sunderland fans are familiar with. The striker joined Sunderland on a free transfer from Burnley after their relegation from the Premier League.

However, the 20-year-old has been unable to break into Sunderland’s first-team set-up despite the well-documented injuries to senior strikers Ross Stewart and Ellis Simms.

With Simms now back in the fold and Stewart expected to return after the World Cup break, Thompson’s first-team chances are even slimmer. At his age, a loan move may suit his development as he needs to play senior football.

Harrison Sohna

Harrison Sohna, also 20, has been in and around Sunderland’s first-team set-up at various points since joining the club from Aston Villa. The midfielder – who can also play at full-back, made a smattering of appearances under Lee Johnson in the Papa John’s Trophy last season.

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This season, Sohna was part of Alex Neil’s squad for pre-season and made his senior Sunderland debut in the Carabao Cup defeat against Sheffield Wednesday back in August.

Under Tony Mowbray, though, Sohna has been an under-21 player primarily. Like his colleague Thompson, Sohna could benefit from experiencing senior men’s football.

Jay Matete

Jay Matete is an interesting case. Bought from Fleetwood Town last January, the midfielder has been in and out of the team during his time on Wearside. But there’s no doubt that the 21-year-old has developed and improved since joining Sunderland and is rated by most fans.

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However, Matete has struggled to nail down a starting position this campaign. He has made just seven Championship appearances this season all of which came from the bench. Matete’s only start coming against Sheffield Wednesday in the Carabao Cup.

Should Sunderland sign another holding midfielder to provide cover and competition for Corry Evans, a good loan move for Matete so he can start games would make a lot of sense.

Leon Dajaku

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Sunderland’s hierarchy are adamant that Leon Dajaku can find success as a striker. Like Matete, though, Dajaku has only appeared seven times in the league for Sunderland so far this campaign.

Tony Mowbray has, however, experimented with the German playing through the middle in recent weeks. The former Bayern Munich man started against Huddersfield Town and Luton Town with mixed results.

The emergence of Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo and the returns of Stewart and Simms means Dajaku will likely slip further down the pecking order – and that’s before Sunderland sign anyone in January.

The 21-year-old clearly possesses some talent – albeit he is very raw – and a loan move could definitely further his development and increase his first-team credentials before returning to Sunderland.