Sunderland have managed to keep themselves out of the bottom three in the Premier League heading into the busy holiday section of the fixture list.
With 16 points from as many matches the Black Cats sit two points clear of the drop zone in 15th place, averaging a disappointing 0.875 goals per game thus far.
This figure points to an unsettling lack of production in attack, with the likes of Will Buckley and Adam Johnson tallying just one goal and one assist between the two of them.
Help is needed in wide positions and it’s been suggested that Galatasaray winger Bruma is Gus Poyet’s top target, though the Turkish giants are known to be keen to keep him.
New Galatasaray boss Hamza Hamzaoglu has reintroduced Bruma after he was frozen out by Cesare Prandelli, saying he believes the Portuguese is destined for greatness.
Sunderland’s alternative to Bruma comes in the form of Ajax star Lasse Schone, who has hit six goals in 14 Eredivisie appearances this season.
The Denmark international’s Ajax contract is set to expire in June, potentially offering Poyet the opportunity to bring him to the Stadium of Light in a cut-price January deal.
But Sunderland aren’t the only side interested in Schone. Milan have also been linked with the 28-year-old, looking to add depth out wide to their squad mid-season as well.
Schone’s agent has now confirmed that he has been in contact with the Rossoneri, though downplayed chances of a January departure from Ajax.
Rob Groener told MilanNews: “Better to ask Milan. I have been in contact with the Rossoneri. He is ready for the quality leap to one of Italy’s biggest clubs.
“Ajax will not want to sell him in January, but you never know. Certainly a transfer in the summer would be the best option.”
The news leaves Sunderland in a difficult position, as Ajax would seemingly rather keep hold of Schone and let his contract expire rather than cashing in on him.
Milan’s interest in Schone is clearly developed to some level given that they’ve spoken with Groener, and the winger may be inclined to hold out for a move to one of Serie A’s historic giants.
Sunderland’s best option at this point seems to be to make Ajax an offer they can’t refuse in January, though this hinges on exactly how highly Poyet thinks of the Dane.
Schone’s value is thought to be in the region of £5.5 million, though how much Ajax would demand to let him go remains a relative mystery at this point.