One of Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ first policies since walking through the doors at the Academy of Light has been to improve the depth of young talent at Sunderland.
He has made several key appointments from a coaching and directing perspective, while a number of young players are also joining.
Sunderland have already tied down Will Harris, Kenton Richardson Sam Wilding and Harry Gardiner following successful trial periods at the club.
However, their efforts haven’t stopped there. In recent weeks, they’ve also taken on Guiseley defender Nathan Newell and Gateshead’s Danny Greenfield. Gateshead appears to be a hotbed of talent for Sunderland to exploit with fresh reports claiming they’re raiding the north-east outfit again.
According to The Chronicle, they are set to bring in striker Nelson Ogbewe on trial for two weeks from the same team.
The 18-year-old scored for Gateshead in a behind closed doors friendly versus Sunderland earlier this week and now they are keen to have another look at him.
With Benji Kimpioka heading out on loan to Torquay, there is a spare gap in Sunderland’s U23 side to exploit.
The Swede has been used sparingly this season, enduring injury and struggling to force his way into the senior side. He did make the bench against Tranmere in the Papa John’s Trophy final but his chances of regular football could suffer further if Sunderland sign Ogbewe.
The teenager has been impressing for Gateshead and his goal against Sunderland says as much.
Though, with pace and the ability to stretch the play, it’s Jack Diamond who he could end up rivalling at the Stadium of Light in years to come.
Diamond picked up two assists as the U23s defeated Burnley on Monday but his performances under Lee Johnson in recent weeks have left plenty to be desired.
It was a performance that was rather out of character with Diamond since he’s burst onto the scene. Though, now back in the U23s, it shows that the young forward still has plenty to learn.
The addition of another striker, therefore, could be bad news for a player like him trying to break into the first-team on a more regular basis.
Ogbewe is a striking character, someone who uses his quick feet to get the better of opponents, much in the same way that Diamond does. Similarly, however, they both have work to do to play regular senior football.
Speaking about Ogbewe, former Sunderland defender Ben Clark said: “He has a very good attitude; he is a talented lad, and we will do all we can to help him progress in a way we believe he can.”
Clark added: “He still has a lot to learn, he’s come a long way in a short time, and we shouldn’t forget that.
“Obviously you have to be cautious with any young player, but we are optimistic he can build on the development he has made.”
Unfortunately for Gateshead, it looks as though he may end up developing at Sunderland instead. This is good news for the Mackems, but not necessarily amazing for Diamond and Kimpioka heading into the next few seasons.
Time will tell what impact his trial period has on the young players around the club.