This has been a torrid festive period for Sunderland. Not because they’ve lost every single game, but because they didn’t actually get to play.
A bout of COVID-19 struck the squad and as a result, they’ve had a number of matches postponed with the Academy of Light being closed until recent days.
For some players, it will have been a huge blow, specifically for the likes of Dion Sanderson – so impressive against Wimbledon – and Charlie Wyke who has been among the goals.
Though, for Jack Diamond, it should have been the biggest disappointment. The tricky winger has finally established himself in Sunderland’s first-team picture but his development has now come to a halt with several matches postponed to a later date.
Unfortunately, his festive period could get even worse when the transfer window opens in a matter of days.
That’s because Lee Johnson wants an attacker that can stretch the play, and he reportedly already has one player in mind. According to Gloucestershire Live, Sunderland are interested in signing Barnsley attacker Luke Thomas.
He is a very similar player to Diamond, utilising his fabulous pace in the final third to good effect and as a result, would surely be a valuable addition to a League One team.
Of course, upsetting the progress of Diamond would be a blow, but if it’s to sacrifice him for a more senior player with a proven track record at this level, it can be no bad thing.
Thomas has failed to score this season which will ring alarm bells, but the last time he played at this level for Coventry in 2018/19, he was a ray of energy. The 21-year-old scored four times and also provided five assists for the Sky Blues.
If Kristjaan Speakman managed to convince him to drop down from the Championship, he would surely be a valuable asset in Sunderland’s quest for promotion.
The price would be Diamond’s development, but in terms of the club’s long-term future, it’s a transfer that would be mightily beneficial.
On a salary of just £6k-per-week, there are also financial benefits, ones that will tie in with the new EFL salary cap. This move seems like a no-brainer, especially when Johnson lacks players with natural pace.
Sunderland can forget about Diamond for the time being.