Relegation Player Series: Sunderland

Ian Horrocks

Sunderland haven't really been enjoying a Premier League season that their fans will want to remember. However, they still have some players that could be of interest to clubs looking to improve, at the right price.

Continuing with my relegation player series, the next team we will be looking at is Sunderland. After losing 5-1 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane, it looks fairly certain that the Black Cats will be spending next season in the Championship. Just because a team is going down obviously doesn't meant that they don't have any useful players, so with that in mind let's take a look at their squad and see if there are any pieces that could help Aston Villa improve.

Remember, I will be rating the likelihood on a scale of 1-10, with 10 meaning that Lambert Should be interested, not that he necessarily Is interested

Unfortunately, some of the players that Sunderland have that I would like to see in a Villa shirt are loanees. Young talents like Fabio Borini and Marcos Alonso are owned by Liverpool and Fiorentina respectively. Connor Wickham is a young striker who is showing promise, but even if Sunderland drop I don't expect him to move.

Lee Cattermole: The 26-year-old defensive midfielder is under contract at the Stadium of Light until June 2016. Valued at £2.9 million, he seems an affordable player that would provide good cover at defensive midfield. Not a spectacular player, he is one who gets the job done. Cattermole would be a decent option for Lambert to look at, if he can get him on a decent wage. The main problem I see with him is that he is English and also over 25 years of age, which makes it a bit less likely that Lambert would be interested.

Likelihood Rating: 5/10. Last season, the midfield wasn't very reliable for Aston Villa. There has been marked improvement from Fabian Delph, Ashley Westwood, and Karim El Ahmadi. Unfortunately, when one or more of these players are missing due to injury, it is easy to see a drop off in quality. Unfortunately Yacouba Sylla hasn't been able to find any form and nobody really knows what has become of Gary Gardner. From a depth perspective, Cattermole would be a good fit.

Jozy Altidore: After not having enjoyed much success after joining Sunderland last summer from AZ Alkmaar, it seems like the 25-year-old American's time to make in impact in the Premier League may be running out. Statistics don't lie, and Altidore has only scored one goal in nearly 1700 minutes of Premier League play this season. Altidore is contracted until June 2017 and doesn't look a likely option for Lambert to sign, at least not permanently. I think that Altidore may be a decent option brought in on loan for either six months or the whole of next season to cover for the injured Christian Benteke.

Likelihood Rating: 4/10. Unfortunately, Gabby Agbonlahor and Andi Weimann haven't had the greatest of seasons, which makes me think that the manger would want to look for another striking option. Lambert seems unwilling to test out some of his other striking options like Nicklas Helenius or Callum Robinson. He has preferred Grant Holt, who will be leaving at the end of the season. Libor Kozák should be back for the start of next season, so I don't think another striker should be brought in (just for sake of playing the youngsters) but Lambert may do it.

L

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