Sunderland look close to securing their first big money move of the transfer window after one of their main targets asked for a transfer.
We reported earlier this month that Sunderland were in talks to sign three new players, and that included West Ham striker Diafra Sakho. Now their bid to sign Sakho is looking more likely to happen than ever with the player now asking to leave the London club.
Sakho has been in and out of the West Ham starting line-up since joining in 2014 from Metz but is said to be frustrated at his bit-part role at the club. Sunderland are looking to add signings to their squad to avoid another relegation scrap next season, and a new £12million bid is being considered by Sam Allardyce’s side.
West Ham are looking to sign at least one striker this summer and that will only push Sakho further down the pecking order. His 15 goals in 43 games has not been enough to convince Slaven Bilic that he is the man to lead West Ham’s European charge next season. Allardyce
Allardyce, on the other hand views Sakho as an ideal addition to his strikeforce. Although Jermaine Defoe signed a contract extension last week, he turns 34 in October and the club cannot purely rely on the experienced Englishman for goals.
We took a closer look at the stats and identified the differences between Sakho and Defoe and this highlighted how the duo could perhaps work well as a pairing. Whilst Defoe is a very clinical, poacher type striker, Sakho is more of a hustler and a support forward. Defoe’s shot accuracy of 66% and goals scored rate of 0.53 per 90 are both greater than that of Sakho’s (47% and 0.30) but the Senegalese international excels in other areas. A key stat is his aerial duels won per 90 of 3.07, that is a large amount for a striker and plenty more than Defoe (0.28). Sakho often works in deeper areas and this is highlighted in his passing and dribbling. The West Ham man succeeded with 1.09 take ons per 90 this season whilst Defoe managed just 0.64. Sakho also attempted many more passes than Defoe per game (20.31 vs. 14.96).
The stats shown above highlight how Sakho and Defoe could potentially be used as a pairing to get the best out of both players and net the most goals for Sunderland.
Sunderland will face competition from West Brom though, with Tony Pulis’ side interested in a swap deal involving Saido Berahino. This may be a more appealing offer for Bilic’s side as West Ham look to bring in fresh blood up front.
It seems towards the top of Sakho’s desires is first team football and if Sunderland boss Allardyce can convince the 26-year-old that he is in his first team plans, then Sunderland should be confident of concluding a deal this month.