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Sunderland suffer setback over Jan Paul van Hecke

Sunderland have been hit with a late setback in their pursuit of Jan Paul van Hecke in the summer transfer window…

What’s the talk?

Brighton manager Graham Potter has revealed that the centre-back is now set to stay at the Premier League club instead of heading out on loan.

The Athletic’s Andy Naylor tweeted: “Graham Potter says Jan Paul van Hecke is more likely to stay now than be loaned out to Sunderland etc.

The Championship outfit have been eyeing the youngster up as a target ahead of transfer deadline day on Thursday as one of at least two signings that they would like to make.

This comes just a day after a move for PSG midfielder Edouard Michut seemingly fell through, with the Black Cats struggling to conclude a batch of last-minute deals.

Frustration for Speakman

This should leave the Black Cats sporting director Kristjaan Speakman frustrated, as he now only has two days left to find a suitable alternative to bring to the Stadium of Light.

There is little that the ex-Birmingham chief can do to bring Van Hecke to Sunderland now as he was being eyed up as a loan signing, which solely hinges on his parent club being willing to sanction a temporary move.

Is this a big blow?

Yes

Yes

No

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If it were a permanent swoop, then Speakman could increase or change the offer to tempt Brighton into selling, but there is nothing he can do if the Seagulls are intent on keeping the 22-year-old.

This will be particularly frustrating for the Sunderland supremo as the Wearside club are in need of a centre-back after the injury to Daniel Ballard earlier this month. The summer signing from Arsenal is out for an unspecified amount of time, and his absence has led to midfielder Luke O’Nien playing out of position at centre-back.

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Sunderland striker Ross Stewart in action

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Van Hecke coming in would have solved that issue as he is a proven Championship performer in that position, playing in a back three on loan at Blackburn last term.

The Dutchman averaged a SofaScore rating of 7.00 across 31 outings in the division, making 3.3 tackles and interceptions per game. This season, no Black Cats centre-back with at least one start has averaged a score higher than 6.88.

Therefore, Van Hecke has the quality to be an excellent player at this level and would have been a superb addition to the Sunderland squad, covering for Ballard and allowing O’Nien to play in his natural position whilst being a potential upgrade on their current options.

Speakman will be frustrated by Brighton’s decision but must use that frustration to fuel a search for another player to take up that place in the squad.

Article title: Sunderland suffer setback over Jan Paul van Hecke

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