Former Manchester United youngster Demetri Mitchell is training with Sunderland as he looks to earn a contract with Phil Parkinson’s League One giants, according to the Chronicle.
After missing out on a place in the play-offs during a disappointing 2019/20 campaign, the Black Cats went into the summer transfer window knowing that a number of key positions were crying out for reinforcement.
And Sunderland fans have been thrilled to learn that, in Bailey Wright and Aiden O’Brien, the Wearside giants have brought in a proven, League One talent at either end of the pitch, without spending a single penny on transfer fees.
With a commanding centre-half and an energetic goal-scorer signing on the dotted line, attention will now turn to adding some much-needed competition on the left-hand side.
21-year-old academy graduate Denver Hume remains the only natural left-back in Parkinson’s squad.
Both Connor McLaughlin and Lyndon Gooch have filled in at times but neither should be seen as a long-term solution to a problem position.
But if Mitchell can prove his worth during a trial period in the north east, he could be the third free-agent to join Sunderland since last week.
The Manchester-born 23-year-old is without a club after being released by the Premier League giants back in June.
But Mitchell, who won the prestigious Toulon Tournament with England back in 2017, showed during a superb loan spell at Hearts in 2018/19 that he has the ability and the attitude to make his mark in the senior game.
“He just needs to develop the defensive side of it now with coaching,” United youth coach Nicky Butt once told MUTV.
“But he’s keen to learn, which is good. I think modern-day full-backs are really attacking players and, if you can get the defensive side right as well, you’ve got a serious defender on your hands.”