Why signing West Ham's James Collins could be the best piece of business Sunderland do in January

Sunderland Stadium of Light

The veteran defender could prove a shrewd acquisition by Sam Allardyce.

Recent reports – by the likes of the Sunderland Echo – have linked Sunderland with an approach for West Ham United defender James Collins in January.

The Welshman has found himself falling down the pecking order under Slaven Bilic, with the Croat preferring Winston Reid and Angelo Ogbonna as his centre-back pairing.

We’ve compared Collins’ Premier League statistics from last season with that of Sunderland’s favoured back two over the same period of time:

 Per Game Tackles WonTotal Duels WonAerial Duels WonInterceptionsClearances BlocksAppearances
James Collins 0.89 57.08% 72.66% 2.04 10.74 1.11 27
John O'Shea 0.95 53.75% 60.98% 1.97 5.08 0.62 37
Wes Brown 0.96 50.30% 63.01% 1.16 5.44 1 25

Collins comes out on top in almost every category - save tackles won - and the statistics provide a clear indication of what he would add to Big Sam's new side.

The Hammers defender was far more dominant in the air than his Sunderland rivals, winning an impressive 72.66% of his aerial duels.

He made double the amount of clearances per game - with 10.74 to 5.08 and 5.44 - suggesting a keen eye for positioning or a lack of composure in possession, depending on one's view.

Collins also made more blocks, more interceptions and won a higher percentage of total duels than the Black Cats pairing and his addition to the squad would seemingly be a welcome one.

Central defence is clearly a problem area for the Sunderland and a move for Collins makes sense given his history with Allardyce.

The 32-year old would provide much-needed grit in the heart of the defence and bring experience of escaping a relegation dog fight - potentially proving to be one of the smartest pieces of early business Allardyce does.

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