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Sunderland must reignite interest in Dion Sanderson

The January transfer window is now officially open for business and Sunderland could be busy this month as Kristjaan Speakman attempts to improve the squad.

Tony Mowbray arrived at the Stadium of Light towards the end of the summer window and this means that he has not had much of a chance to stamp his own mark on the side by bringing in his own players.

In spite of the circumstances around his arrival, the ex-Blackburn Rovers boss has led the Black Cats to eighth in the Championship table and in contention to fight for a play-off spot at the end of the season.

Mowbray must now reignite the club’s interest in central defender Dion Sanderson as he could be an excellent signing for the club heading into the second half of the campaign.

Scottish giants Rangers and Birmingham, who currently have the centre-back on loan, are reportedly vying to land him on a permanent deal from Premier League side Wolves and the Black Cats must now throw their hat into the ring.

The Northern Echo reported that Sunderland were keen on a deal to sign Sanderson, on loan or permanently, last summer but he ended up moving to St. Andrew’s but Mowbray must now make another move for the enforcer.

Was missing out on Sanderson a howler?

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He would be an upgrade on current central defender Bailey Wright and would be an exceptional signing in the immediate term and for the future.

The Australia international has played 13 times in the Championship this season for Sunderland and averaged a Sofascore rating of 6.85. He has made 1.1 tackles and interceptions per match, completed 81% of his attempted passes and won 56% of his individual duels in the second tier.

Sanderson, who former Mackems boss Lee Johnson once dubbed a “Rolls-Royce“, has averaged a score of 6.92 across 24 appearances for Birmingham. The 6 foot 2 colossus has made a whopping 3.1 tackles and interceptions per outing and won 55% of his battles at the back, which shows that he has a similar level of efficiency to Wright but is far more active in cutting out opposition attacks.

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His average score also suggests that he has been performing to a higher level than the ex-Bristol City man and that he would be an upgrade on Sunderland’s options in that area of the pitch.

At 23, he is also seven years younger than Wright and would be a signing for the future as well as the here and now. He would suit the approach of signing young players with potential to improve, with the ambition of selling them on for considerable profit further down the line, and Mowbray must now reignite Sunderland’s interest in his services.