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Sunderland battling Blackburn to land Jan Paul van Hecke

An update has emerged on Sunderland and their pursuit of Jan Paul van Hecke in the summer transfer window…

What’s the talk?

According to Alan Nixon in his Patreon, via Football League World, the Black Cats are battling it out with Championship rivals Blackburn Rovers to land the defender’s signature.

The report claims that the Lancashire outfit are currently leading the race to sign him after the news of Alex Neil’s exit from the Stadium of Light.

It is stated that Brighton are demanding a hefty loan fee of around £500k to allow the defender to leave for the season.

Imagine him and Danny Batth

If Kristjaan Speakman can beat Blackburn to the signing of the Dutchman then he could form a solid partnership with Danny Batth at the back for the Black Cats.

Should Sunderland sign van Hecke?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The pair could be a nightmare for opposition teams to deal with in the air as they both excel at winning headers against their opponents.

In the Championship this season, Batth has won a whopping 73% of his aerial battles for Sunderland – including four out of five in the 1-0 defeat to Norwich on Saturday.

He won 69% of those duels in League One last season, whilst winning 73% of his fights on the ground, and has showcased his quality in the second tier in the past.

Batth won 75% of his headers for Stoke in 2021/22 and averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.10 – a score only four Sunderland players are currently bettering – which shows that he has the ability to be a solid player at this level.

The Black Cats can now find a solid partner for him, alongside Dennis Cirkin, by signing van Hecke to bolster the defence.

In an interview with Roker Report, Blackburn content creator Dan Ainsworth described the 6 foot 2 gem as “aerially dominant” and claimed that he’s “got everything to play at the very top level and any Championship club is lucky to have him.”

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Sunderland striker Ross Stewart in action

Starting off easy... who was Sunderland's top scorer in 2021/22?

He spent the 2021/22 campaign on loan to Blackburn and won 59% of his aerial battles, having won 75% of them for Brighton in the EFL Cup this term, and averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.00.

The Brighton man also won 61% of his duels with his head whilst on loan in the Eredivisie the season before that, which shows that he is very strong in those situations – just like Batth.

His spell with Rovers also means that he has Championship experience and is capable of putting in superb performances on a consistent basis, which suggests that he could hit the ground running at the Stadium of Light.

Now, imagine him and Batth dominating opposition strikers and bullying them in the air throughout the rest of the campaign.

Article title: Sunderland battling Blackburn to land Jan Paul van Hecke

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