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Championship

Could Kit Symons convince Ross McCormack into Sunderland switch?

Mathew Coull

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This week has seen reports emerge that Aston Villa will look to release striker Ross McCormack in the summer. The Telegraph report that Villa could end the Scotland striker’s spell at Villa Park two years early after a torrid time in the Midlands.

The 31-year-old signed for Villa after three incredible goalscoring seasons with Leeds United and then Fulham. The fee to bring him to Bodymoor Heath was in the region of £12 million, according to BBC Sport.

But in two seasons at Villa Park he has played just 24 times and scored two goals. Signed by Roberto Di Matteo, a massive bust-up with his new manager Steve Bruce saw the Scot frozen out. He has since spent time on loan with Nottingham Forest and Melbourne City.

BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND – AUGUST 16: Ross McCormack of Aston Villa celebrates scoring his sides first goal during the Sky Bet Championship match between Aston Villa and Huddersfield Town at Villa Park on August 16, 2016 in Birmingham, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

So with McCormack a free transfer in the summer, who will risk his signature?

One team that surely will be interested is Sunderland. The Black Cats look doomed to League One and will be looking for new recruits to take them back to the Championship at the first time of asking.

Sunderland have been linked before. Sky Sports reported Sunderland tried to sign him on loan in the summer, which would have reunited him with former Leeds boss Simon Grayson. However the Daily Star suggested Bruce pulled the plug on the deal as he saw Sunderland as promotion rivals, how wrong he was.

But Sunderland have another link to the player at the club currently. Grayson may be gone, replaced by former Wales manager Chris Coleman, but his assistant Kit Symons does know McCormack well. He was the striker’s manager for 13 months at Craven Cottage. McCormack won the club’s player of the year award under his guidance and would surely love to work with him again.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MARCH 18: Kit Symons manager of Fulham looks on prior to the Sky Bet Championship match between Fulham and Leeds United at Craven Cottage on March 18, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

McCormack would be a gamble. On top of his recent troubles there is expense, the Scot will want a good wage at Sunderland which may be dependent on any potential summer takeover. But he is a proven goalscorer and in Australia this season was prolific – scoring 14 goals in 17 appearances.

If Symons can convince him to cut his wage demands McCormack could be the perfect signing to guide Sunderland back to the Championship in the likely event of relegation.

Derby County

Sam Winnall to Stoke looks inevitable after Gary Rowett arrival

Josh Kerr

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Sam Winnall
Photo: Getty Images

Gary Rowett’s move to Stoke City from Derby County has added further fuel to the fire regarding Sam Winnall’s future and a potential move to Staffordshire for the new season.

The two have previously been together during their time at Burton Albion, and Rowett opted to bring the 27-year-old to Pride Park on a loan deal this season.

Winnall scored four goals in 16 Championship games for Sheffield Wednesday after arriving at Hillsborough in January 2017 from local rivals Barnsley.

He was underwhelming for the Owls initially and hence the club decided to loan him to his former manager.

(Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Nonetheless, he has enjoyed some success at Derby this season, winning the club’s Goal of the Season award for his memorable strike against Ipswich Town back in December.

Injury has restricted Winnall to just six Championship starts but despite his time spent on the sidelines, the fans have enjoyed the Englishman’s time at Pride Park and are crying out for him to stay.

Nonetheless, Rowett’s move to Stoke was the icing on the cake for Wednesday supporters and unsurprisingly talk of a switch to the Bet365 Stadium has surfaced on social media.

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Leeds United

Leeds United should bring in free agent Nick Townsend

The former Barnsley goalkeeper has worked under Leeds United boss Paul Heckingbottom previously.

Mathew Coull

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Leeds United are said to be in the hunt for a new goalkeeper this summer. Last summer’s recruits Felix Wiedwald and Andy Lonergan both proved unsuccessful and could find themselves leaving this summer. The former is expected to return to Germany whilst the latter was offered to Sunderland in the winter but pulled the plug on the deal.

At the moment, youngster Bailey Peacock-Farrell is the number one stopper at Leeds and he has performed valiantly since being given the role.

But new recruits are expected this summer, with the likes of Angus Gunn and David Stockdale already being mentioned.

Leeds should, however, look closer to home and bring in Nick Townsend this summer.

Many Leeds fans will now be shouting who? The 23-year-old stopper is currently a free agent, with his contract at Barnsley being terminated this summer.

(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

He joined Barnsley from Birmingham City in 2015 and went on to play 18 games for the club in three seasons, including some under the guidance of current Leeds boss Paul Heckingbottom.

Heckingbottom was a big fan of Townsend’s, who he trusted as his main back-up stopper during his time at Oakwell. Townsend, who made the news after injuring his finger in a training ground bust-up with a team-mate earlier this year, is now on the hunt for a new challenge.

Leeds could be the perfect location. Of course, Townsend should not be considered a number one goalie. But if Leeds are to lose both Wiedwald and Lonergan this summer then they may need two new keepers in the door.

Townsend is a reliable option when called upon and one who Heckingbottom knows well and can trust.

Bringing him into the Leeds squad would be a fine piece of business as it would certainly strengthen what is a weak area of the Leeds United first-team.

It is not a deal that will blow you away, but bringing in Townsend would be a smart piece of business for Leeds United.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers

Giorgian de Arrascaeta signing would represent transfer of intent from Wolves

Josh Kerr

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Photo: getty Images

According to Fox Sports Brazil, Wolverhampton Wanderers are weighing up a bid for World Cup bound-midfielder Giorgian de Arrascaeta.

The Uruguay international, an attacking midfielder with 13 caps for his national side, is attracting the attention of many European sides who are hoping to lure him away from the Brazilian league ahead of the summer World Cup.

Wolves fans will be delighted to see themselves linked with another established name in world football and will look to the success of star man Ruben Neves as inspiration for the move.

The former Porto star was a revelation at Wolves this season, scoring six goals along the way, and was nominated for both the Player of the Year and Young Player of the Season in the Championship. Neves’s success will give fans every bit of hope that De Arrascaeta would have a similar fate should he sign for the high-achieving club.

The current Cruzeiro player has spent the last three seasons playing in Brazil’s top flight, making 73 appearances and scoring 16 goals, after making the move from Defensor Sporting in Uruguay.

(Photo by Adam Nurkiewicz/Getty Images)

The midfielder’s attacking flair could match that of Diego Jota, whose permanent deal from at Molineux, from Atletico Madrid, hasn’t yet been confirmed.

He would be the perfect addition for the Midlands outfit as they look to restablish themselves in England’s top-flight and ensure their continued Premier League status.

It is important that the deal gets done quickly as De Arrascaeta will soon be turning his attention to the World Cup and interest in his services is only likely to increase.

He signed a contract extension in February which runs until 2021, but the luxury of the Premier League may be enough to tempt the young Uruguayan to the Championship winners this summer.

If he signs, he would prove another useful attacking option, especially if Jota remains at the club.

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