On June 20, the Northern Echo reported that Sunderland had narrowed their striker search down to three candidates. Two weeks later, however, two of those are now off the market.
Freddie Ladapo has joined Sunderland’s League One rivals Rotherham United for a Millers record £500,000 (Yorkshire Post). Dundee United, meanwhile, have pulled off one of the best transfer coups anywhere in Britain by agreeing a deal with Ayr United’s 34-goal talisman Lawrence Shankland.
And then there’s James Wilson, a player Sunderland have been linked with for the last 11 months.
The former Manchester United striker has signed for Aberdeen, snubbing the chance to swap Old Trafford for Wearside in the process, according to The Mail.
So that leaves just one man; John Marquis.
Yes, the Doncaster Rovers frontman looks every inch a ready-made replacement for Josh Maja. With 26 goals last season, he is proven at League One level and could provide the clinical finishing Sunderland so badly need to turn those oh-so frustrating draws into valuable victories.
But promotion-seeking Doncaster would be loathe to let him go. According to the Northern Echo, Marquis is valued at £1 million, meaning he is far more expensive than Ladapo, Shankland or Wilson.
Sunderland have really backed themselves into a corner here. Only one of their striker targets remains, and they are now under huge pressure to snap him up.
Though that looks easier said than done.
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