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Sunderland have played a blinder with the signing of Aji Alese

Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman was a busy man throughout the summer transfer window as he attempted to improve the squad.

The Black Cats were promoted from League One, after beating Wycombe 2-0 in the play-off final at Wembley, and the former Birmingham chief was tasked with building a team capable of competing at a higher level.

He brought in the likes of Jack Clarke, Aji Alese, Ellis Simms, Edouard Michut, and Jewison Bennette, among others, and they have helped the club to enjoy a solid start to the 2022/23 campaign.

Sunderland are currently 17th in the Championship table but they could move up to 12th if they win their game in hand, which would also leave them four points outside of the play-offs.

One summer signing who was catching the eye for the Black Cats prior to picking up an injury was 21-year-old defender Aji Alese as he showcased his quality at centre-back and left-back.

Has Aji Alese been a good signing?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The youngster was brought in from Premier League side West Ham United on a permanent deal ahead of the 2022/23 campaign and the move was a gamble by Speakman as the youngster had only played twice for the Hammers at senior level and had not played above League One level on loan.

Transfermarkt valued him at €500k (£439k) at the time of his move to the Stadium of Light but his stellar performances on the pitch at the start of this season has resulted in the website increasing his value to €1m (£878k), which is his current valuation as of 09/11/2022.

This means that his value has soared by 100% in the space of a few months and his statistics in the Championship for Sunderland suggest that it is deserved.

Alese has averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.08 in nine league outings for Tony Mowbray’s side, which is a score only Ross Stewart (7.66) has been able to beat within the squad.

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Sunderland striker Ross Stewart in action

Starting off easy... who was Sunderland's top scorer in 2021/22?

This shows that he has been one of the club’s top performers since making the switch from West Ham and he has showcased his defensive qualities by making 3.4 tackles and interceptions per game and winning 66% of his ground battles in the division, with the youngster proving that he can handle the physicality of the Championship.

Journalist Josh Bunting described the gem’s defending as “scary” due to how easy he made a goal-line clearance look and his statistics show that he was scaring supporters and pundits alike with his superb play prior to picking up the injury that currently has him sidelined.

His impressive performances and his soaring market value show that Speakman played a blinder by signing Alese in the summer and that his gamble has paid off. Hopefully, the 21-year-old can continue to develop and become a crucial player for the club for many more years to come.

Article title: Sunderland have played a blinder with the signing of Aji Alese

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