Sunderland transfer links hint at youth focus but experience issue remains

Gone are the days when a manager likes the look of a player and asks the board to try and sign him. As Sunderland have proved, the recruitment of players is all down to sporting director Kristjaan Speakman and Sunderland owner Kyril Louis-Dreyfus.

How could they entrust signing players to managers anyway when they keep getting rid of them?

A number of players are coming under consideration and yet there is no head coach in sight and Speakman and Louis-Dreyfus seem happy to take on the brunt of the responsibility given their reluctance to make a head coach appointment.

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One is said to be German midfielder Elias Lenz, who’s available on a free transfer this summer. An emerging report from German national outlet Bild has revealed that Red Bull Leipzig are releasing a number of players from their U19s set up. And U19s captain Lenz is included. Bild say that he ‘was in Sunderland for trial training’ recently, having been in the Leipzig set up since 2016.

A right-footed central midfielder, the 18-year-old Lenz is more than 6ft tall and operates as more of a defensive-minded midfielder. He’s made 49 total appearances for the Red Bull Leipzig U19s including 23 in the A-Junioren Bundesliga North-Northeast League, scoring once.

Little is known about Lenz given the fact that he’s been playing in Germany and has only ever played youth football. Sunderland’s scouting system has picked him up and having given him a trial, the Black Cats may well continue to have him on their radar.

Youth has always been a consistent factor where Speakman and Louis-Dreyfus are concerned and they crave young, hungry talent. Sunderland may well go through with the signing which could be an exciting one for both parties, given the Stadium of Light remains an attractive place for youngsters to come and cut their teeth.

The fact that Lenz arrived in Wearside at a young age demonstrates his commitment to furthering his career.

But it is surely experienced players that Sunderland need after a disappointing last season. Other players said to be on Sunderland’s wish list are the likes of Chris Willock and Ian Poveda but on the flip side the club have to try and keep their own star players with growing speculation surrounding Chris Rigg and Anthony Patterson, as rival clubs take an interest.

Surely the new head coach, when appointed, will want a say in who the club signs? We will have to wait and see on that one.