When it comes to Sunderland, it’s clear what the issue is – they don’t score enough goals.
Things have improved slightly with the rejuvenation of Charlie Wyke. The tall striker has been superb this campaign and already has two goals under Lee Johnson, taking his tally for the season to ten.
Yet, Johnson isn’t completely satisfied yet. That’s because he admits that Sunderland lack pace and directness in attack, something he wants to address in January with the addition of someone who can stretch the play.
That being said, they clearly need at least one addition in the final third. Could that be Barnsley’s Luke Thomas? It was reported a few days ago that Sunderland and Oxford United were considering a move for the Tykes attacker.
The forward, who earns £6k-per-week, hasn’t found a goal in 2020/21 but it’s important to consider that he contributed to nine strikes for Coventry at this level in 2018/19. Possessed with “lots of pace” according to his manager at the time Mark Robins, he’s a player that could add plenty to Johnson’s side.
The key word there is could. All you need to do is look at the spell Antoine Semenyo had from last January onwards. Signed on loan from a Championship club in the winter market, the winger arrived with pace to burn and dangerous energy.
That’s alarmingly similar to Thomas, so Sunderland will need to hope his spell doesn’t end up going the same way.
After Semenyo signed temporary terms with the Black Cats, he started just once and failed to score. Phil Parkinson had high hopes for the 20-year-old but he wasn’t given a fair enough chance to show what he was capable of.
If Kristjaan Speakman secures a deal for Thomas he will need assurances that Johnson will play him. Any such move will be rendered pointless otherwise. Last January tells you all you need to know.