Sunderland haven’t been particularly active in the transfer window but they have made positive strides towards improving the team.
Carl Winchester has signed from Forest Green but recent reports suggest a left-back could be arriving.
The Mackems have recently been touted with signing St Johnstone defender Scott Tanser but now another full-back has emerged on their radar.
According to Football Insider, the Black Cats are interested in signing Brighton defender Alex Cochrane.
The 20-year-old is currently on loan in Belgium at Union SG but with his contract expiring this summer, a permanent transfer elsewhere could be on the cards.
It’s thought that Sunderland want to sign him either on loan or on a permanent transfer this month.
When Kristjaan Speakman walked into the football club, little did he think he’d be having to waver a bit of an injury crisis.
Lee Johnson’s men were struck by a bout of Covid, all while having to deal with injuries to Luke O’Nien, Josh Scowen, Lynden Gooch, Denver Hume, Conor McLaughlin and Danny Graham.
Scowen and Gooch may have returned but it’s in Hume’s position where an issue has emerged. The full-back has recently suffered a setback in his bid to return to fitness and now, Johnson will be sweating over his options.
Calum McFadzean gave away a penalty against Wimbledon and is far from assuring while his other option – Dion Sanderson – is not a natural left-back.
Thus, the addition of Cochrane would be invaluable in their quest to be promoted. Hume has been a major player for Sunderland this season, registering two assists from full-back and proving to be a huge asset going forward.
Fortunately, they’d discover similar qualities with the Brighton defender. Speaking about him in the summer, journalist Derren Howard said: “He’s a good athlete who defends well, but like most modern-day full-backs he’s also very attack-minded and links well with the midfield.
“He is clever and skilful on the ball and for a young player he also reads the game well and is tactically aware.”
The youngster hasn’t contributed to a goal during his time in Belgium but we get a sense for his qualities in the final third by looking at his performances for Brighton U23s in the EFL Trophy last term.
In a match with Sunderland’s fellow League One side Wimbledon, Cochrane was a rampaging force down the left, delivering four crosses and winning 75% of his duels. Against Newport County, meanwhile, he delivered three crosses.
For context, Hume has registered 1.5 crosses per game this season so they may even discover an upgrade.
Most importantly, though, they’d find cover in an area where Hume’s injury has become a problem for Sunderland. This would be a solid acquisition in January, one that ensures Johnson can rest a little easier between now and the end of the season.