Gus Poyet is keen on signing a central defender for Sunderland.
Poyet has also confirmed interest in both a striker and a full-back, but, with the ageing nature of his defence, a centre back is said to be a main target. Santiago Vergini has yet to impress on Wearside, whilst John O’Shea and Wes Brown will unlikely be able to cope with the intense run of fixtures in the new year.
Poyet has admitted that he doesn’t want to bulk buy players, and he will only be keen on bringing in people who can add benefit to his starting XI, rather than squad players who are nothing but back-ups. Whilst this rule works better for any strikers or full-backs he signs, with the central defenders likely to be second choice for Brown and O’Shea in the defence, we take a look at three potential targets for the Black Cats.
Danny Batth - Wolverhampton Wanderers
Batth has been part of one of the best perfoming defences in the country - albeit in the Championship. Before conceding five in one game against Derby, Wolves had excelled in the early part of the season, riding high in the promotion places. However, a poor run of form - including that 5-0 defeat - has seen them fall to mid table, not winning any of their last four games, and conceding 10 of their 25 goals in just three games. Despite this, Batth has been an incredible presence in the Wolves back-line, and having yet to play in the Premier League - he failed to make an appearance during Wolves’s stay in top flight - he has real aspirations to reach the top end of English football. Whilst they looked well set for promotion in the opening weeks of the campaign, Kenny Jackett’s men have fallen off the pace, and, if they are out of the running by January, he could well be looking to leave the club to make the step up.
Tomas Kalas - Chelsea
Kalas is currently on loan with Koln, but he has failed to make an appearance and could be cutting his deal short to return to Stamford Bridge. QPR are reportedly tracking the 21-year-old, and the Blues are said to be keen on sending him out to a Premier League club where he is guaranteed to receive playing time. With just two Premier League appearances to his name, the Czech international represents a risky signing, but the performance shown last season in the 2-0 victory over Liverpool at Anfield has proven his ability, and Gus Poyet could potentially utilise his Chelsea connections to steal Kalas from the encroaching QPR. Also able to play as a right-back, Kalas would provide cover in the full-back positions that Poyet so desperately needs.
Virgil van Dijk - Celtic
A target for the Black Cats over the summer, Celtic’s 2013/14 player of the year van Dijk rejected interest from a host of clubs to remain in Scotland. Arsenal and Manchester United have also retained interest and are said to be keen on securing the Dutchman as defensive cover in January, but he is much more likely to receive first-team playing opportunities at the Stadium of Light. Having only impressed in the Eredivisie and SPL, van Dijk is still something of an unknown quantity, but his form has called for his inclusion in the full Netherlands squad, and it will surely not be long until he makes the step up into a more competitive league. Whilst the lures of London and Manchester may be too hard to turn down, a move to Sunderland may entice the 23-year-old with no need to uproot his home in Glasgow.