Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman could hit the jackpot with a deal for Wolves centre-back Dion Sanderson as he prepares to table an opening offer for the 21-year-old.
According to Football Insider, Speakman is preparing to make a bid for Sanderson following the end of his loan spell at the Stadium of Light. Speakman wants to bring Sanderson back for a second season in League One and is ready to test the water with an opening salvo. Sunderland are hoping that the relationships built with Sanderson inside the club will be enough to convince him to make the switch.
The report claims that a number of clubs are tracking Sanderson, with Newcastle, Crystal Palace, Huddersfield and Sheffield United named as some of the teams interested in the centre-back – who has one year left on his contract at Wolves. The Premier League side, Wolves, are open to selling Sanderson and would like a fee in the region of £2m for the 21-year-old defender.
After an impressive performance against Crewe earlier this season, Sunderland boss Lee Johnson hailed Sanderson as a “Rolls-Royce” of a defender. He told The Chronicle:
“He was the one that was kind of a shining light in terms of the defensive performance.
“That can be clouded sometimes by the team [performance] because individually he has done alright. I think that’s where it starts for all of us – make sure you are a leader for at least two people.
“If you’re playing at centre-back, then look after a central midfielder, the other centre-half, and maybe the right-back. If you look after those, it switches you on and helps you to focus and concentrate.”
“He’s a centre-half and at his age level he is an absolute Rolls-Royce.”
The £135k-rated beast showed maturity beyond his years during his loan spell with the club and clearly impressed enough for the higher-ups at Sunderland to want to snap him up permanently. Sanderson only turned 21 in December of 2020 and his performances for the club suggest that he could have a very bright future ahead of him, as he has been able to catch the eye at League One level, despite this young age.
In 26 League One appearances for Sunderland, Sanderson averaged a solid WhoScored rating of 6.72. However, his overall rating is marred by seven substitute appearances dragging it down, as his displays whilst starting were where the eye-catching statistics came from. Sanderson averaged a score of 6.87 in two games at fullback – playing right-back and left-back – and averaged a score of 6.88 in 17 starts at centre-back for the Black Cats.
His age and his performances for Sunderland during the 2020/21 campaign mean that Speakman could be hitting the jackpot if he brings him in on a permanent deal. Lee Johnson could have the chance to coach the “Rolls-Royce” into developing further as a player and that could then open the door to Sunderland selling him on for greater profit in the future.
Take a club like Norwich, for example, who signed James Maddison and Ben Godfrey in 2016 for similar fees to the one it could take to sign Sanderson. They later sold Maddison for £24m to Leicester and Godfrey for £30m to Everton. Bringing Sanderson in for just £2m could result in a huge payday for the club down the line if they are able to handle his progress in the right way and nurture him into becoming a top player.
AND in other news, fans should be delighted as £4k-p/w beast has been backed to sign a new deal