An update has emerged regarding Sunderland‘s pursuit of Standard Liege defender Moussa Sissako in the summer transfer window…
L’Equipe journalist Loic Tanzi has claimed that the Black Cats are in talks over a deal to sign the centre-back as Kristjaan Speakman looks to improve the squad.
The reporter has added that the player failed to agree to a move to fellow Championship side Burnley and is speaking with another (unnamed) club.
Tanzi tweeted: “Moussa Sissako (ex. PSG, now at Standard) had an offer from Burnley, but the defender did not reach an agreement with the English club. Ongoing discussions with Sunderland and another foreign club #
Sissako could come in at Sunderland to replace Ballard whilst the summer signing recovers from the injury that he sustained against QPR last weekend.
Alex Neil confirmed that the centre-back will not be back any time soon, saying: “Dan has a small fracture in his foot. He’s going to be out for the foreseeable future, but it is difficult to put a timescale on it.
“We have a few other scans to undertake – and a couple of specialists to see – to fully understand the severity of it, but that process is underway to ensure he then receives the necessary treatment to get him back as soon as we can.”
The former Arsenal man started all three of the club’s opening Championship matches this term and averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.57, losing 56% of his ground duels and only completing 69% of his attempted passes.
Whilst these statistics are far from impressive, they are still better than Danny Batth’s. The 31-year-old has started all four of the club’s league outings and averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.45, losing 70% of his ground duels and completing 68% of his passes
These figures suggest that Ballard and Batth have had a tough start to the season, and the former must now be replaced after suffering an injury.
Sunderland can now replace the summer signing by bringing in Sissako from Liege, and he could be an upgrade on the aforementioned centre-backs. The 6 foot 2 machine enjoyed a solid campaign in Belgium last term as he averaged a SofaScore rating of 6.85 and won 54% of his ground duels, whilst completing an impressive 83% of his passes.
This suggests that, if he can adapt to English football, Sissako could be a dream replacement for the injured Ballard on the right of Sunderland’s back three.
He has shown that he can perform to a higher standard week in, week out, whilst also winning rather than losing the majority of his battles on the deck and being far more accomplished on the ball.
At the age of 21, Sunderland would also be signing a player with room to grow and improve even further, which means that he could be a long-term investment whilst also being a short-term fix to the Ballard situation.