Is signing Derby forward Chris Martin Sunderland’s most realistic hope of survival?

Derby County West Stand

Sunderland have been linked with Derby County forward Chris Martin.

As per a report by HITC Sport last month, Derby County centre-forward Chris Martin has emerged as a January target for recently-appointed Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce.

The Scotland international has little experience of the Premier League, yet he is widely regarded as the best centre-forward in the Championship and his performances prove that.

Sunderland, unless they can muster up a minor miracle, look set on dropping down to the Championship, as they currently place second-from-bottom in the top-flight with just one win to their name.

Allardyce is a master at keeping teams up, but even this challenge is currently looking beyond him unless the Black Cats can do some pretty shrewd transfer business in January.

One of the biggest problems the former Bolton boss has at the Stadium of Light is an unbalanced squad with very little in terms of an attacking threat.

Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson, Jeremain Lens, Ola Toivonen and Jermain Defoe aren’t bad players at all, but piecing them together is a tough ask – Sunderland need the ball to stick in the final third.

Allardyce plays a direct style, yet Steven Fletcher isn’t really the man to bring others into play as he doesn’t drop deep enough. Martin, on the other hand, is the perfect pivot for attacking players.

  CompetitionGoalsAssistShots per GameKey Passes per GameAerial Duels Won per GameTouches per GameAccurate Passes per GameBall Recoveries per GameAppearances
Chris Martin Championship 8 2 2.56 1.44 2.31 47.5 25.63 2.25 16
Steven Fletcher Premier League 4 0 1.55 0.36 4.55 27.09 9.91 1.36 11

As per the table provided by Opta Stats, the Rams’ favourite is shown to be more than just a goal scorer but also a creative player capable of dropping deep and linking up with his teammates.

Aside from averaging more goals, assists and shots than Fletcher, Martin takes considerably more touches, makes more passes and averages more chances created per league encounter.

Now while the Championship and the Premier League are, of course, entirely different levels in terms of quality, Martin still possesses ideal attributes to succeed in the top-flight due to his style of play.

Sunderland need a way of getting their attacking players more involved – and who better than Martin, whose entire game and playing style is built around that exact feature?

He wouldn’t come cheap, but any potential outlay on the Derby man would be worth it as even if relegation occurs, Sunderland would possess the ideal player to help them make a quick return.

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