According to a report in the Mirror, Sunderland are looking to bolster their defensive ranks in January with the signing of Schalke’s impressive defender Joel Matip.
With games against Manchester City and Liverpool on the horizon, Sunderland could enter the New Year some way behind their fellow relegation contenders and in need of a minor miracle.
January will have a big say in their bid to beat the drop, and boss Sam Allardyce is seemingly desperate to bolster his ranks as he eyes Schalke’s first-team star Joel Matip as his number one priority.
“Joel Matip tops Sam Allardyce’s New Year wish-list, The Schalke stopper has six months left on his contract and Sunderland’s spies have been watching the Cameroonian repeatedly during the past month,” the Mirror report.
Matip, despite his contract situation, is regarded as an important figure at Schalke as he regularly finds himself in the starting eleven and tasked with holding his side’s defence together.
The 24-year-old has made 17 Bundesliga starts this season, averaging an impressive 3.3 interceptions and 4.9 effective clearances per league match for the Geisenkirchen-based outfit.
Sunderland are short of defensive options, with Sam Allardyce stumbling on a 3-5-2 formation but relying on the likes of John O’Shea, Sebastian Coates and Younes Kaboul to remain fit.
Matip would be an excellent addition at the Stadium of Light, and the talented defender is also versatile enough to move into a holding midfield position and provide extra cover there.