The potential solution to a long-term Sunderland transfer market problem that could already be at the club
If you asked Sunderland fans for the key attributes required in the transfer market this summer, they would probably come back with two main answers.
Pace and power.
The answers likely would have been the same last summer. And the summer before that.
The Black Cats’ squad has long lacked some real directness in the final third. While there are plenty of technical players, some raw speed would add a different dimension to Sunderland’s attack.
And while there is undoubtedly a need to add further pace to the squad this summer, there could be part of a solution already on the club’s books.
For at Harrogate, Jack Diamond showed exactly what he could bring to the frontline this term.
The winger may not be blessed with blistering pace, but his ability to carry the ball at speed is something otherwise lacking in the squad.
While he enjoyed some success last season, and made impacts in a number of games, Diamond wasn’t handed regular starts at any point during the campaign.
Competition will once again be intense in the wide areas this season, with Lynden Gooch and Aiden McGeady both experienced options while the likes of Josh Hawkes and Benji Kimpioka will also be hoping for further involvement.
But Diamond has done his chances of regular first-team football absolutely no harm in the early weeks of pre-season.
At Harrogate he was a threat throughout, twice coming close to scoring with efforts from the edge of the area in a dominant first-half display from Sunderland.
He offered a different threat to that of some of the club’s other wingers, driving at his defenders and carrying the ball extremely well.
There is work to be done on his final product, but that is perhaps to be expected from such a young player.
But it’s that rawness which makes Diamond exciting to watch. As a supporter, he’s the type of player who can get you off your seat and who can bring that dynamism that all good attacks require.
It’s a big season for the youngster, who will no doubt be keen to prove his point and nail down some more regular first-team football.
More showings such as the one at Harrogate will do his chances no harm.