Earlier this summer reports suggested Sunderland could be making a move to bring a hometown hero back to the club. As confirmed by Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald himself, Grant Leadbitter was on the shortlist for Sunderland this summer.
With Paddy McNair leaving, Lee Cattermole and Didier Ndong out-of-favour and Ovie Ejaria’s loan move ending Sunderland looked bare in central midfield.
“Yes, Grant is a player on our radar and we would want it to be a permanent deal rather than a loan.”
They have done well to rectify the situation. Luke O’Nien and Dylan McGeouch both arrived and Max Power could still become a Sunderland player. But on the opening day of the season, Sunderland still resorted to 16-year-old Bali Mumba starting. As impressive as he is, some experience and fight is needed in that Sunderland midfield.
Leadbitter ticks all the boxes and, considering he is a local boy who came through the ranks at the club, would certainly please fans.
Now, he might even be available.
Middlesbrough snapped up Mo Besic for a reported £6 million on transfer deadline day.
The move leaves Leadbitter way down the pecking order at The Riverside. With Adam Clayton, Jonny Howson, Paddy McNair, Lewis Wing and now Besic all ahead of him, the 32-year-old is surely open to a loan switch.
Sunderland would need to get Cattermole, Ndong and Papy Djilobodji out of the door first. However, a move for Leadbitter would bring the experience Sunderland might need to push for promotion from League One this season.
They may have wanted a permanent deal earlier this summer, but that time has now passed. Putting together a decent loan package could give Sunderland a missing piece in their promotion puzzle.