Transfer news: Kristjaan Speakman and Robin Nicholls conclude double Sunderland exit - round-up

The latest transfer news and stories from around the web involving Sunderland.
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Sunderland have lost their last two games in the Championship against Huddersfield Town and Birmingham City with head coach Michael Beale under considerable pressure from fans.

Despite Sunderland's form on the pitch, though, there has been some interesting transfer activity following the closure of the January transfer window. Here, we take you through the key headlines you may have missed:

Matty Young departs on loan

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Highly-rated Sunderland youngster Matty Young has been handed an opportunity to gain senior experience after joining National League North club Darlington on a short-term loan deal.

The England Under-19 international completed the formalities of the move to Blackwell Meadows on Friday and made his Quakers debut against a South Shields side under the interim charge of former Sunderland academy boss Elliott Dickman. Darlington won 4-0.

The move sees Young follow a similar path to former Black Cats goalkeeper Jordan Pickford and Premier League winner Kasper Schmeichel after the international duo spent time on loan with Darlington in the formative years of their careers before going on to thrive at the highest level of the game. Young was part of Sunderland's pre-season squad for the tour of the United States last year.

Zak Johnson also departs on loan

Sunderland defender Zak Johnson has joined Dundalk in Ireland on loan after returning from Hartlepool United earlier this season.

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The 19-year-old initially joined Pools on a one-month loan agreement in September, before the deal was extended until January. Johnson made 12 appearances during his spell at the Suit Direct Stadium, after being part of Sunderland's first-team squad for their pre-season US tour. He also started Sunderland's EFL Cup game against Crewe in August.

However, Johnson will now join Dundalk on loan for the remainder of the 2023-24 season. Johnson captained England’s under-18s in the summer and has made a small number of appearances for Sunderland’s first-team in the EFL Trophy and the Carabao Cup in recent seasons.

Sunderland's academy manager Robin Nicholls said: “This is an exciting move for Zak and gives him the chance to challenge himself at a good level of football following a year in which he has experienced international football as well as playing in the National League for Hartlepool, the EFL Cup for our first team, and a variety of competitions with our U21s."

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