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Why would a move for Steven Naismith make sense for Sunderland?

According to the Daily Mirror, Steven Naismith has been handed a way out of Norwich City by his old boss David Moyes at Sunderland. Naismith worked under Moyes at Everton, his previous club before an £8.5 million switch to Carrow Road. His spell in east Anglia has proved fruitless though, with just two goals in 18 appearances and Norwich’s relegation from the Premier League. The fee is believed to be in the region of £4 million.

Where would he fit in at the Stadium of Light?

Naismith is a very versatile forward, capable of playing from a wide position or leading the line, though he prefers to operate just behind a traditional centre forward. The Scot relies of cute and clever movement to fashion chances from himself; he is not blessed with blistering pace or abundant ability but is a very canny operator. The Black Cats are not exactly blessed with an array of forward options; Jermain Defoe was exceptional last season but is now 33, while Fabio Borini has always been a profligate finisher. Naismith’s former teammate Steven Pienaar was a recruit earlier in the summer and the two of them could be deployed in any of the three positions behind the striker in a 4-2-3-1. Naismith never has never got into double figures for goals in a Premier League season, but is player Moyes will trust.

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Is he worth the fee?

Amidst the madness of this particular transfer window, £4 million is an inconsequential amount of money for a Premier League club to spend. At 29, he still has a couple of seasons in him in the top division but carries no re-sale value whatsoever. Nevertheless, Sunderland need to increase their forward options desperately and clubs would typically expect to pay more than that at this stage of the window; Jonathan Kodjia has already moved from Bristol City for £11 million this week. Naismith is good in the air and a sound penalty taker, and although he is not a prolific goalscorer, he does have knack of scoring against the big teams. The Scot netted a hat trick in Everton’s 3-1 win over Chelsea at Goodison Park last September, as well as getting on the scoresheet against Liverpool for Norwich. Sunderland fans will not be too concerned about whether Naismith represents value for money.

How likely is this deal?

Sunderland seem to be the only dog in this particular race so expect this deal to go through without too many hitches. Norwich are in a troubled financial situation and are in a weak bargaining position, so Sunderland have swooped. Naismith is keen to reunite with fellow countryman and former boss Moyes, so all three parties should be able to reach an agreement very quickly. No volcanic ash clouds are imminent, so Naismith should be in the clear to travel to Wearside, have a medical and sign a contract with Sunderland this afternoon.

Verdict: Very likely

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