Sunderland finally completed the signing of Dynamo Kiev’s Jeremain Lens, following a prolonged chase over the course of the summer.
The Dutchman became the Black Cat’s third signing and undoubtedly the one that most whets the appetite of fans so far, boasting a wealth of Champions League experience and a regular for his national side.
It is no secret that Sunderland have lacked pace and creativity in the final third for some time now, especially on the left-hand side which has been a troublesome spot for the Black Cats to fill since the departure of Fabio Borini following the Italian’s successful loan spell.
Indeed the prospective partnership between compatriots Patrick van Aanholt and Lens looks to be a potent weapon in Sunderland’s arsenal with both players bringing plenty of pace and an attack minded approach to the game.
At a reported £8/9m, Lens can certainly be considered as a tidy piece of business by Lee Congerton, the Sunderland sporting director, especially as Lens was undoubtedly high on Dick Advocaat’s wish list with the pair having worked together previously at PSV Eindhoven and AZ Alkmaar.
Whilst the arrival of Lens will no doubt alleviate some of the concern that was beginning to grow amongst the Black Cats’ fan base, this is still a Sunderland squad that requires at least a further three, if not four, new faces if they are to avoid yet another frustrating struggle at the foot of the Premier League table ? it is very much a case of quality rather than quantity this time around as the Sunderland look to learn from their previous mistakes in the transfer market under the stewardship of former Director of Football, Roberto Di Fanti.
The centre of both defence and midfield are now surely the focus for Congerton and his team who have hit a few snags in both areas of late with Zenit Saint Petersburg defender, despite his protestations, failing a medical having flown in from Russia, and West Ham’s Stewart Downing, who was earmarked for a central role at the Stadium of Light, looking certain to join his boyhood Middlesbrough and their ambitious bid for a return to the top flight.
What this means for Sunderland fans is an inevitable tidal wave of new names as the transfer merry-go-round keeps on a-spinning.
One name which has been thrown around is Manchester United’s Jonny Evans, who rather kick-started his career on Wearside with a successful loan spell at the Stadium of Light which is still remembered fondly amongst the Sunderland fan base.
Evans would probably not come cheap (reports suggest £10m) despite potentially not fitting in with Louis van Gaal’s plans, although he would tick pretty much every box on Sunderland’s wishlist with his wealth of Premier League experience.
Also, with both John O’Shea and Wes Brown’s playing days coming to an end, isn’t it customary that Sunderland once again raid Old Trafford for one or two cast-offs?
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