One of Sunderland’s priorities this January is surely to enhance the rate at which they score goals.
It’s a shoddy record but there at least attempts to bolster their forward ranks.
Yet, there is a controversial figure within their grasp, with Kyle Lafferty being lined up by the Mackems on a free transfer. According to the report, he’s already met club representatives too.
A player with a plethora of experience throughout Europe and on the international stage with Northern Ireland, it’s a move that would be playing with fire, especially after the debacle surrounding Aiden McGeady.
Speaking about a potential move away, Phil Parkinson said last month: “There’s always going to be disagreements, but the unity of the dressing room is paramount.”
Why, therefore, are Sunderland interested in someone who is notorious for causing arguments and disagreements throughout their career?
Pre-Euro 2016, journalist James Ducker noted that Lafferty has “natural gravitation towards controversy and ill-discipline.” Based on what’s happened throughout his playing days, it’s easy to see why.
It may have been a joke but Craig Levein once detailed how the squad’s IQ had increased when the 32-year-old departed Hearts.
It points to a player who lacks intelligence, much as McGeady did when isolating himself.
Banished from the training ground, he has no future at Sunderland, but the Black Cats would be doing wrong by bringing in another negative influence.
Lafferty has a clear reputation, being involved in a bust-up with former teammate Christophe Berra during a clash with Hearts and being sent off on his debut for Norwegian side Sarpsborg.
His behaviour has also been described as disgusting in the past by Ian Wright, who called him out for the way he dropped out of a Northern Ireland squad in October 2018.
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The experienced forward may claim he regrets the things he did at Ibrox but there are few positives to bringing an ego this big to the Stadium of Light in January.
Having scored over 50 Scottish Premiership and English Championship goals, he clearly knows where the net is, but Parkinson and Sunderland would only be playing with fire by offering Lafferty a contract.
Meanwhile, a further transfer move from Sunderland could spell DISASTER for Will Grigg…