Sunderland news: Lee Johnson handed boost as club outline transfer stance on Black Cats target

Sunderland boss Lee Johnson handed boost as club outline transfer stance on Black Cats target

Sunderland will be hoping to make a barnstorming start to the 2021/22 campaign next month in League One when they face Wigan Athletic at the Stadium of Light.

Before this particular showdown, the Black Cats will need to make some considerable alterations to their squad due to manager Lee Johnson’s decision to part ways with a host of players.

With Sunderland no longer able to call upon the services of Josh Scowen, Grant Leadbitter and Max Power after opting to cut ties with this particular trio, it wouldn’t be at all surprising if they prioritise strengthening their options in the heart of midfield.

Whereas the Black Cats may look to the free-agent market to solve this particular issue, they could also be tempted to splash the cash on a player who has a proven track-record of delivering the goods at this level.

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A report from the East Anglian Daily Times earlier this week suggested that Sunderland were one of a number of clubs who were believed to be tracking Matt Crooks’ situation at Rotherham United.

Ipswich Town, Derby County and Peterborough United were also thought to be keen on securing the midfielder’s services.

However, in a fresh update concerning Crooks’ future, it has been revealed that Darren Ferguson’s side are now unlikely to make a move.

According to the Peterborough Telegraph, Posh are reluctant to match Rotherham’s £1m valuation and thus are now focusing on other options.

Meanwhile, it is yet to be seen whether Ipswich are willing to step up their pursuit of Crooks after they recently had a bid rejected by the Millers. 

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Considering that Crooks’ current deal at Rotherham is set to expire next year, it will be intriguing to see whether Sunderland are willing to test Paul Warne’s side’s resolve by submitting an attractive offer this summer.

Certainly no stranger to life in the third-tier of English football, the 27-year-old has illustrated during his career that he is more than capable of excelling at this level.

During the 76 appearances that he has made in League One, Crooks has managed to provide 21 direct goal contributions from central-midfield.

Although splashing a seven-figure fee for a player will unquestionably raise eyebrows at this level, Sunderland ought to consider making a move for Crooks as he could potentially spearhead a push for promotion next season.

By building a squad around the likes of Crooks and Aiden McGeady, the Black Cats may finally clinch a return to the second-tier in 2022 after several near misses in recent years.

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