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Sunderland: Ryan Porteous could be an upgrade on Luke O’Nien

The January transfer window is well underway and Sunderland are yet to make their first move of the month to improve their squad heading into the second half of the campaign.

Tony Mowbray is yet to make an addition to his team but could be on the lookout for reinforcements in the next couple of weeks, particularly after Premier League side Everton opted to recall striker Ellis Simms from his loan spell at the Stadium of Light.

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First up in this quiz about Sunderland's 2022, the Black Cats kicked off the year with a memorable 3-3 draw against which team?

The Black Cats lost 3-1 to Swansea at the weekend and are now sat three points off the play-off places, in 10th, and 12 points clear of the relegation zone.

Sunderland have put themselves in an excellent position to attack the next few months and attempt to secure a top-six finish with an eye on competing for a place in the Premier League next season.

Therefore, improving the team in the coming days and weeks could strengthen their chances of finishing in the play-offs and that is why Kristjaan Speakman and Mowbray must clinch a few deals before the end of the month.

One player they could sign to upgrade their current starting XI is Hibernian central defender Ryan Porteous, who is reportedly a transfer target for the club.

Should Sunderland sign Ryan Porteous?

Yes

Yes

No

No

West Bromwich Albion, Norwich City and Watford have also been linked with an interest in signing the Scotland international and the Black Cats must now beat off competition from their Championship rivals in order to secure a deal for the enforcer.

The 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season and Hibs have already confirmed that he will not be putting pen to paper on an extension, which means that the gem will be available for nothing in the summer.

Sunderland should swoop to sign him for a cut-price fee, if possible, this month as the defender has the potential to be a big upgrade on Luke O’Nien.

The current Black Cats defender, who was shown a straight red card in the defeat to Swansea last time out, has had a solid, if unspectacular, campaign for the club in the second tier. He has averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.77 and won 52% of his individual duels across 25 appearances in the division.

Porteous – who former Hibs player John Hughes hailed as a “heart-on-sleeve” and “full-blooded” warrior – has averaged a Sofascore rating of 7.24 and won an impressive 66% of his battles in 21 Premiership outings this term. The gem also averaged a score of 7.11 and won 66% of his duels in 2021/22, which shows that his displays this season have not been a flash in the pan.

These statistics indicate that the Scotsman could offer more to Sunderland as his average performance level and his efficiency in his defensive actions are far more impressive than O’Nien’s.

He is also five years younger than the former Wycombe Wanderers man and could, therefore, be a great long-term signing for Sunderland and someone who they could take on a journey by developing him as the club, hopefully, moves up the pyramid.