Gus Poyet has confirmed that Sunderland will be looking at signing a left-back in January.
However, he faces two-and-a-half months on the sidelines following an injury suffered in the victory at Crystal Palace prior to the international break. The 24-year-old dislocated his shoulder, becoming the latest in a long line of injuries suffered by key members of the Black Cats playing squad, and Poyet confirmed that he would be holding discussions with sporting director Lee Congerton to discuss the arrival of a new left-back to cover the full-back’s injury.
Speaking to the Chronicle last week, Poyet said: “I met Lee again to define a few things. And let’s say it (left-back) is a position that needs to be on standby.
“We need to have an option, just in case something doesn’t work and Patrick’s recovery has a setback.”
Anthony Reveillere has been filling in at left-back since van Aanholt’s injury, but, with the club on the look out for an extra defensive addition in January, we take a look at three potential targets the Black Cats could be in the market for.
Kyle Naughton - Tottenham Hotspur
Naughton has been a consistent performer for Spurs this season, registering five starts to his name - although all at the right-back position. A natural right-sided defender, the 26-year-old has spent a large portion of his career at left-back, and he has been filling in for Spurs duo to the injury to Kyle Walker. Danny Rose and Ben Davies have secured the left-back role for themselves, and, with Walker set to return from injury this month - and DeAndre Yedlin likely to complete his switch to North London in January - Naughton will have no place in the Lilywhites’ squad. Whilst not the best defender, Naughton offers Premier League experience, and he could prosper with a guaranteed first-team role at the Stadium of Light. Head coach Mauricio Pochettino is said to be keen on letting the full-back leave, and Sunderland could swoop for the Englishman on a cut-priced deal.
Jon Flanagan - Liverpool
Flanagan was one of the Reds standout performers last term, as they came so close to winning the Premier League title. He made 23 appearances - predominately at left-back - and showed assurance on the ball despite his young age. The 21-year-old won his first England cap due to his performances for the Merseyside club, and he was named as one of the Three Lions’ standby players for the 2014 World Cup, but he has failed to kick-on this season - with first-team appearances limited. He has yet to make a single Premier League appearance this term, with Glen Johnson, Javier Manquillo and Alberto Moreno preferred in the full-back positions, and, although an injury ruled him out of the early weeks, it is hard to see him displacing Rodgers’ favourites when he does return to match action. It is unlikely that Liverpool will let him leave permanently, but a short-term loan-deal could be perfect, giving the Black Cats defensive cover until the return of van Aanholt, whilst also offering Flanagan some much needed game-time on his route to recovery.
One of the standout Championship players this season, Mings has stepped into the void left by Aaron Cresswell’s transfer to West Ham, and has drawn plaudits from all sections of the media. 17 appearances at his natural left-back position have brought a return of three assists, and his defensive stability has been a vital part of the team who sit just four points off top spot. The 21-year-old has been linked with Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea - with the latter said to be keen on him becoming John Terry’s successor at central defence - but Sunderland can offer him consistent first-team football immediately - whereas he would be a back-up choice at the three Premier League giants. Ipswich boss Mick McCarthy is keen on Mings staying with the Tractor Boys for the whole season - having rejected a deadline day bid from Crystal Palace - but the allures of a starting role in the Premier League could be too great for the player to turn down should Sunderland make a move in January.