Sunderland are unsure of what division they’ll be in next season but that hasn’t stopped them from thinking about possible recruits.
The latest word from the rumour mill involves another young player at a Premier League club.
According to the Daily Record, Sunderland are in a battle to sign Brighton midfielder Marc Leonard this summer.
The 19-year-old’s contract with the Seagulls expires in a few months time and it doesn’t look as though he’ll pen new terms on the south coast.
Consequently, the Black Cats could sign him on a free transfer, as they fight with Swansea to sign the young Scotsman.
Leonard left Hearts as a teenager because the style of football didn’t suit his game. Unfortunately, the youngster has failed to make the grade at Brighton either.
Sunderland have endured a particularly rocky few weeks. They have gone from one of the most consistent sides in the division to a team littered with mistakes in just a matter of games.
It’s something that may considerably hurt their promotion bid.
One player who has been at fault throughout the last few weeks has been Josh Scowen. He may have scored in the defeat to Charlton but it was his own goal at the opposite end that proved crucial.
He was particularly poor in the win over Bristol Rovers last month too, succeeding with just 41% of his passes; the worst tally of any outfield player to start the game. During that clash, the midfielder made only 12 passes during his 90 minutes on the field.
Scowen was again disappointing in the defeat against Wigan. He looked off the pace and struggled to live with the runners in Leam Richardson’s team, being dribbled past on three occasions. That’s why the addition of someone like Leonard would be important.
He is yet to earn any first-team minutes but a move to the Football League could light a spark in the young midfielder.
Leonard is composed in possession and during Brighton’s EFL Trophy campaign, he completed 85% of his passes and picked up an assist in the club’s 3-0 win over Southampton.
Adept at finding a killer pass, he’s also assured defensively, winning one tackle and one interception per game.
What sets him apart from others in his age group is the way he takes the ball in his stride.
Former manager of Tannochside United, Jamie McNee, was once quizzed about the best players he’s coached. Evidently, he held Leonard in high esteem: “Some good players at all levels but technically gifted would probably have to go for Marc Leonard at Brighton. Touch is a joke,” he remarked.
With Scowen enduring a rather inept run of form, signing a player with Leonard’s qualities makes a lot of sense.
Under Lee Johnson, a man who likes a more possession-based style of football, the youngster could thrive.