An update has emerged on Sunderland and their interest in Daniel Ballard during the summer transfer window…
According to journalist Alan Nixon, via his Patreon, the Black Cats are one of the teams pursuing a deal to sign the centre-back for the 2022/23 campaign as Kristjaan Speakman plots a swoop for the 22-year-old.
The report claims that a number of Championship sides are now looking at the Arsenal man as a target after Burnley pulled out of the race.
Speakman must get a deal over the line for the defender in the coming weeks as he would be an excellent, much-needed, addition to the squad.
Journalist Josh Bunting has claimed that the machine would be an “outstanding” player for the club and explained why the head coach needs him, tweeting: “Good ball player out from the back something that Alex Neil requires in a player of that position.”
The gem has proven that he has the quality to be a consistent performer in the Championship after an impressive season on loan at Millwall.
In the 2021/22 campaign, Ballard averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.95 across 31 appearances as he established himself as a regular fixture at the back.
He made 3.5 tackles and interceptions and 3.4 clearances per game as he showcased his ability to read the game and his positioning week-in-week-out in the second tier. The youngster also showed off his physical strength as he won 64% of his duels throughout the campaign – dominating the opposition the majority of the time.
Ballard also caught the eye in the recent international break as he impressed in the Nations League for Northern Ireland. In three games for his country, he averaged a brilliant SofaScore rating of 7.17 and won a whopping 72% of his duels.
The 22-year-old also completed 88% of his attempted passes and has proven that he can be reliable in possession of the ball. As Bunting pointed out, Neil needs a centre-back who can pass the ball and Ballard has shown that he can do that, whilst also being a strong defender at Championship level.
Therefore, the head coach needs him badly as he would be a superb signing to bolster his options at the back and Speakman must now work hard to get a deal done.