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Sunderland must avoid disastrous Fabian Delph swoop

Sunderland have enjoyed an impressive start to the 2022/23 campaign and head into the first international break of the season in fifth place in the Championship.

The Black Cats are back in the second tier for the first time since 2017/18 after ending their four-year stay in League One by winning the play-off final at Wembley against Wycombe earlier this year.

Alex Neil masterminded their promotion back to the division but did not stick around long as he opted to join rivals Stoke City at the end of August.

This left Kristjaan Speakman scrambling to bring in a replacement and he moved quickly to appoint Tony Mowbray, who left Blackburn Rovers at the end of last season.

The English boss has picked up seven points from his first four Championship matches in charge of the club, winning two, drawing one, and losing one.

It has been a superb start to life on Wearside for Mowbray but he must now avoid his first disaster amid speculation around a swoop for free agent Fabian Delph.

Should Sunderland sign Delph?





Sunderland are reportedly one of a number of Championship clubs interested in snapping up the central midfielder for nothing after he left Everton earlier this year.

The Englishman was released by the Toffees at the end of the 2021/22 campaign after playing 11 times in the Premier League last term, having featured in eight matches the year prior to that.

He struggled for game time on Merseyside as he found himself constantly picking up injuries. Between 2019/20 and 2021/22, Delph suffered eight separate injury issues that kept him out of action for 59 competitive matches.

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Sunderland striker Ross Stewart in action

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Whilst 59 is the total number of games missed due to injury, you also have to consider all the other clashes that he would have been unavailable to start in as he worked his way back to full fitness. This means that the 20-cap England international has proven himself to be a liability.

The knocks did not allow him to build up any consistency on the pitch and journalist Paul Brown described the dud’s time at Goodison Park as a “complete disaster“, which is what Mowbray must now actively avoid.

Delph was reportedly on £80k-per-week at Everton and this suggests that he would have a fairly high wage demand in comparison to the rest of the Black Cats team. The highest earner in the Sunderland squad is reportedly Alex Pritchard on £8.5k-per-week and the ex-Everton man could, unless he is willing to take a gigantic wage reduction, come in as the highest-paid player.

Mowbray must, therefore, avoid a disaster at the Stadium of Light as Delph’s unreliability in his availability is a huge cause for concern that suggests that he would be a poor signing for the club.

Sunderland should not be looking to sign a player who may be injured for more games than he is able to play, particularly given the potential financials involved, and that is why the manager must pass on this.