With the January transfer window just over two weeks away, a number of Premier League clubs will be looking at potential targets now in order to strengthen their squads in key areas.
Big money moves are often uncommon in January, therefore it is a market usually dominated by the relegation contenders as they fight to preserve their Premier League status.
Sunderland are currently among the contenders this season, and unless they act in January they could find themselves struggling to keep their heads above water come next May.
The Black Cats sit in 19th position in the table, two points adrift of safety despite winning three of their previous eight matches under new boss Sam Allardyce.
Allardyce is an expert in keeping teams up, yet this Sunderland side has a number of weaknesses including a lack of defensively solidarity and options both in midfield and at the back.
Ola Toivonen is not really that type of player while Yann M’Vila has played well but he has had to do it alone at times as Lee Cattermole struggles with a back injury which may need an operation.
A new midfielder in January is a must for Sunderland, and one player they should definitely target is Trabzonspor’s experienced holding midfielder Stephane Mbia.
According to a recent report in The Sun, the Cameroon international has been credited as a potential Premier League target this season despite only being in Turkey for six months.
Mbia has vast experience, having won the Europa League twice with Sevilla after a brief spell with Queens Park Rangers during their ill-fated Premier League campaign.
At 29, he has plenty of experience and his imposing height – 6ft 3inch – would be ideal for a side who like to pay close attention to detail on dead-ball situations.
The former Marseille man will not fall out of Sunderland’s financial bracket, and a signing of his ilk could well be the difference between staying in the Premier League and dropping down to the Championship.