Sunderland’s transfer window could make or break their promotion bid.
Down the years we’ve seen their business in this part of the season hinder more than help their chances. Thus, it’s crucial that Kristjaan Speakman gets things spot on.
Just who Sunderland decide to target in January will be interesting. After all, in 2019 they signed Will Grigg for £4m, someone who has become one of their biggest flops in recent times – scoring just eight goals in nearly two years.
Furthermore, their additions in January this year were hardly very helpful. The likes of Antoine Semenyo and Kyle Lafferty barely played for instance.
This time, though, it looks as though they’ll favour the loan market in order to get around the EFL’s salary cap. Providing he completes a takeover, prospective buyer William Storey has insisted that Sunderland’s plan will be to exploit Premier League U23 sides.
As such, The Sunderland Echo have speculated that prolific Everton youngster Ellis Simms could be on the Mackems’ radar.
They explained that a loan move would be the next logical step in his progression and considering Sunderland need a player of his type, he could be someone they target.
When we reflect upon Johnson’s time at Bristol City, there is one very specific player that comes to mind – Tammy Abraham.
Now a Chelsea regular and England international, it was under Johnson at the Robins that he first flourished, scoring 26 goals in only 48 games under the current Sunderland boss.
He was a loan signing for Bristol City and in Simms, Johnson could discover someone capable of making a similar impact at the Stadium of Light.
But why is that? Well, for starters, the 19-year-old is tall and furthermore, he’s a powerful striker with pace to burn.
Johnson has already admitted that he wants someone capable of stretching the play and consequently, Simms would be their perfect man.
He is natural goal scorer who according to Everton U23 assistant John Ebbrell is outstanding in one-on-one situations: “From experience, I know if you have time to think for that finish it can be difficult but Ellis is really calm and composed in those situations. He very rarely misses,” he said.
To provide further evidence of Simms’ qualities, he has scored eight goals in just 11 Premier League 2 outings this season. That follows a record of 41 strikes in 44 games for the U18s throughout his career.
Although he’s rarely had a taste of senior action, he knows where the net is and would add a great deal to Johnson’s side.