Transfer news: Update provided on Sunderland 'target' after making Premier League debut

Brighton and Hove Albion centre-back Jan Paul van Hecke has been linked with a move to Sunderland and Middlesbrough during the January transfer window.

van Hecke was named player of the season at Blackburn Rovers last season, where coach Tony Mowbray was in charge, and has been linked with a return to Ewood Park alongside Sunderland and Middlesbrough.

The Black Cats could be in the market for a defender should Bailey Wright depart. The Australian international has been linked with a move to Hibernian and Aberdeen in Scotland.

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Speaking after the 2-2 draw at Leicester, in which van Hecke made his Premier League debut, Albion head coach Roberto De Zerbi said: “He played well. In the first half, it was very difficult because Leicester defended with order. There wasn't space inside the pitch, in the middle. It was difficult to find the best solution.

Jan Paul van Hecke of Brighton & Hove Albion

"But I am happy for him. It was the first game in the Premier League. He is very young. Like with Ferguson, my work is to help our young players to progress, to find the right way for them, for us.”

Van Hecke added. “I think it I did well in the first half, it was good. Some good passes between the lines. In the second half, it was all right but, with the goal, I could do a bit better.

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“If you open your body, you could maybe block the ball. If I am critical of myself. I could do better. But I thought overall it was good that I got my first game and get a lot of experience from it so that is good.”