Kevin Phillips has offered his verdict on Sunderland’s reported pursuit of Sam Vokes…
The former Black Cats striker has backed the club to pursue a deal to sign the 31-year-old on loan from Stoke this summer. According to The Sunday Mirror’s Darren Witcoop, via Chronicle Live, Sunderland are interested in a potential temporary swoop for the Welsh forward ahead of next season.
Phillips has compared Vokes to Charlie Wyke as he believes the pair have a similar style of play. The one-time Sunderland centre-forward has said that the Potters attacker could be a great addition to Lee Johnson’s side.
He told Football Insider: “He came in not long after I left. Vokes is that type of player, you know what you’re going to get.
“He is in that Charlie Wyke ilk. He’s big and powerful in the box and gets on the end of crosses.
“That’s not a bad one to be fair. You would like to think he can perform in League One.
“He could suit Sunderland’s style of play, that could turn out to be a decent signing.”
Wyke’s contract at Sunderland expired earlier this week and there has been no update on whether or not he will be signing an extension at the Stadium of Light. Football Insider claimed last month that he was keen on a transfer to Scottish giants Celtic, with the Glasgow side chasing a swoop for the striker. This means that there may not be much hope for another season on Wearside for Wyke, which is why Sunderland must now forget him and move on.
Kristjaan Speakman must instead focus his attention on a move for Vokes. As Phillips explained, he could be the ideal replacement for Wyke and ease any fears that there will be a gigantic hole to fill in the number nine role next season.
The 31-year-old is vastly experienced at Premier League and Championship level, which suggests that he could thrive if he drops down to League One. Upon his arrival at Stoke in 2019, then-Potters manager Nathan Jones hailed him as a marquee level signing for the Championship, pointing out Vokes’ experience in the Premier League.
He told Stoke’s official website: “Sam is a player of real pedigree, he has been promoted from this level and he’s an experienced international and Premier League player.
“To get it done is something totally different to anything we have and we think he’s a marquee player for this level.”
Vokes has played 113 games in the top flight during his career, scoring 17 goals and providing six assists. He has also been involved in 75 goals in 276 appearances in the Championship for the likes of Burnley, Stoke, Wolves and Norwich. This suggests that he has the pedigree to arrive at the Stadium of Light and be a key player in League One, as he has proven his quality in the two divisions above.
The £33,000-per-week beast also boasts a career average of 5.5 aerial battles won per game, which is slightly higher than Wyke’s 4.8 from last season. This suggests that he could be the aerial threat Johnson needs at the top end of the pitch following the departure of last season’s top scorer for Sunderland, which is another reason why Speakman must land Vokes this summer.