Sunderland have a lot of work to do in the transfer market in January if they are to improve on their 13th-place in the league, and Phil Parkinson hasn’t wasted any time in his search for new recruits.
He has revealed that Bristol City player Antoine Semenyo is one individual on his radar, and the youngster could help bolster his wide options, particularly now that Aiden McGeady isn’t part of his plans.
The 19-year-old signed a new four-year deal with the Robins last summer which indicates the quality he possesses, but whether Parkinson is the man to bring that out of him remains to be seen.
The Black Cats need an injection of pace and flair but Semenyo is a gamble due to his inexperience, having made less than 50 professional appearances. He spent time on loan at Newport last season without pulling up too many trees, so it will be interesting to see if he has improved since then.
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Our team of Football FanCast writers cast their verdicts on the possible signing, here’s what they had to say.
“A versatile starlet capable of playing through the middle or out on the left, signing Antoine Semenyo would be a breath of fresh air for Sunderland.
“At just 19-years-old, he is at the perfect age to really showcase his potential for the Black Cats, and with them lying in mid-table in League One, he would be able to play without the spotlight and intensity of a relegation battle or promotion push. It would give him the chance to bed in over the coming weeks and months, before really settling into life at the club over the coming seasons.
“Sunderland need to play it smart with their work in the transfer market, and targeting young and up-and-coming players before the entire world knows about them, seems like a pretty logical plan.
“With Aidan McGeady now 33, and potentially leaving in January, Sunderland do need a wide-man to replace him. And with him being only 19 in contrast, Semenyo can be the heir to McGeady’s throne.”
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“In simple terms, this would not soften the blow of losing McGeady. In fact, it would be a rather puzzling signing and would sum up the club since Phil Parkinson arrived.
“They’ve won just three games of 15 under the new management and while a replacement will be needed for McGeady, signing someone who failed to cut the mustard in League Two last season would be a big error of judgement. Antoine Semenyo seems like a refreshing player on the face of it but his three goals in 21 fourth-tier outings suggest Sunderland should look elsewhere.
“The north-east side have scored just 16 times since Parkinson walked through the door so added attacking quality is needed but with Semenyo failing to score this season, he isn’t the answer. The Black Cats need a morale boost but Stewart Donald would achieve little with this move.”
“I think that Sunderland are in a position where they can afford to gamble. We’re at the point of the season where nobody is really expecting them to do much so rolling the dice on a player like Semenyo isn’t a bad idea.
“He’s clearly highly-rated at Bristol after signing a new deal, and while he’s not played very often, everyone needs that first chance to get their career kickstarted.
“Sunderland need to take a risk if they are to do anything this season, and while this can’t be classified as anything other than a gamble, it could be one worth taking.”
“Whilst Parkinson seems to have his priorities straight by targeting a winger, Semenyo may not be the right player to bring in.
“His pace could be of use but the fact he made just two assists in his 34 games on loan at Newport suggests he is not the right fit, as he wouldn’t be able to provide a key attribute that the team lacks – creativity and service for the strikers.
“Charlie Wyke seems like he will now be the first-choice striker having started the last three games after returning from injury, and he depends on quality crosses into the box, so it is vital Sunderland sign a winger capable of just that, and therefore Semenyo may not be a success if he arrived in the north-east.”
Here we cover a more in-depth look at what Semenyo offers and the likelihood of him joining the Black Cats…