Sunderland news: Black Cats enter transfer hunt for Northern Ireland international

Sunderland enter transfer hunt for Northern Ireland international

Having decided to launch a complete overhaul of his squad following the culmination of the previous campaign, Sunderland manager Lee Johnson will now be looking to draft in some fresh faces in the coming weeks.

Whereas the Black Cats will still be able to call upon the services of Aiden McGeady and Luke O'Nien next season, they are currently short of options in central-midfield following their decision to part ways with Josh Scowen, Grant Leadbitter and Max Power who has since sealed a move to Wigan Athletic.

In order to strengthen his options in this particular position, Johnson may be tempted to spend a considerable chunk of his transfer budget on an individual who could potentially thrive at this level.

According to The Courier, Sunderland have reportedly entered the race to sign St Johnstone midfielder Ali McCann.

The Northern Ireland international is also understood to be attracting interest from Celtic, Hull City and Stoke City after delivering a number of impressive displays last season.

McCann made 43 appearances in all competitions for St Johnstone as he helped his side clinch a domestic cup double.

With his current deal at McDiarmid Park set to run until 2023, the midfielder could be sold for a sizeable fee this summer by the Saints if they are willing to part ways with him.

It is understood that a potential suitor may have to match St Johnstone's reported valuation of £2m in order to seal a deal for McCann.

Although the 21-year-old is predominantly a central midfielder, he has managed to illustrate that he is more than capable of operating in a more advanced role in recent seasons...

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Whereas Sunderland unquestionably face a battle on their hands to beat the likes of Celtic and Hull to McCann's signature, it could turn out to be a major coup if they are able to get a deal over the line.

As well as providing four direct goal contributions in the Scottish Premiership, the midfielder averaged a relatively impressive WhoScored match rating of 6.78 which was only bettered by five of his team-mates.

McCann also ranked in the top-six at the club for tackles per game (2.7), interceptions (1.5 per match) and blocks (0.5 per match) as he offered a great deal of defensive support.

Although Sunderland would be taking a risk by spending a considerable amount of money on a player who has yet to feature in this particular division, McCann clearly possesses a great deal of talent and thus could potentially set the third-tier alight with his displays if Johnson decides to bring him in.

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