Should Sunderland swoop for free agent Alex Gilliead?

Sunderland fans celebrate during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.

Premier League side Newcastle United will bid farewell to Alex Gilliead, who was reportedly wanted by local rivals Sunderland last season.

Alex Gilliead of Newcastle in action during the Pre Season Friendly between Sheffield Wednesday and Newcastle United at Hillsborough on July 30, 2014 in Sheffield, England.

It takes a brave man to make the short trip from Tyneside to Wearside.

Only 13 men in footballing history have represented both Newcastle United and Sunderland in their professional careers, with Jack Colback the most recent player to swap one North East giant for the other back in 2014. But could Alex Gilliead become number 14?

Jack Colback in action  during the Sky Bet Championship match between Newcastle United and Nottingham Forest at St James' Park on December 30, 2016 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

According to the Chronicle, the 22-year-old winger is set to leave St James’ Park after six years at Newcastle. Gilliead, who was born in nearby Shotley Bridge, will become a free agent after the Magpies reached an impasse in contract negotiations, which has attracted the attention of numerous clubs.

It is understood that Steven Gerrard’s Rangers are interested, as are teams in the Championship and League One. And it would be little surprise if Sunderland were among them.

Back in November, the Chronicle reported that Sunderland were hoping to land Gilliead on loan from their bitter rivals, and now they have the chance to snap him up for free, which should appeal to the cash-strapped club for obvious reasons.

Alex Gilliead of Bradford City in action during the Sky Bet League One match between Northampton Town and Bradford City at Sixfields on September 23, 2017 in Northampton, England.

The 6ft forward has impressed at League One level for Bradford City, making 48 appearances for the Bantams in the third tier last season, and he would give Jack Ross some much needed pace and creativity in attack.

But after six years in the black and white stripes, would Gilliead be willing to pull on the red of Sunderland?

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