Sunderland aren’t just troubled by their lack of prolific strikers currently, with Michael Beale’s men in desperate need of some positive reinforcements in the left-back area on Wearside to help growing injury issues.
With Niall Huggins out for the foreseeable with a serious knee issue, alongside Dennis Cirkin requiring surgery recently to help his recovery from a similarly nasty injury, a brand new defender to fill in for both of these long-term absentees is a must this January.
Aji Alese has gone about his business quietly filling in for both of the injury-stricken faces as of late, but with this potential incoming through the door, concerns about a lack of fit options at left-back could be solved.
Sunderland’s ongoing hunt for a left-back
Sunderland Nation have revealed that the Black Cats are targeting a move for Leicester City full-back Luke Thomas to bolster this depleted spot in their team, Thomas returning back to the King Power Stadium this month after a forgettable loan spell with Sheffield United.
Boasting 68 Premier League appearances already in his early career – Thomas still only 22 years of age – he could well be a fantastic addition to Beale’s squad this month to soften blows surrounding Huggins and Cirkin.
Immediately taking over the reins from Alese on his potential arrival, the 15-time England U21 international could be a signing too that shows Sunderland aren’t just going to drift away from the promotion pack as pressure intensifies near the top of the division.
How Thomas would fit into the Sunderland team
The Leicester defender would come straight into the starting XI, offering the Black Cats another forward-thinking and expansive option alongside breakout star Trai Hume on the right-hand side of defence.
Scoring two goals and picking up five assists playing in the Foxes senior side to date, Thomas’ ability to find the back of the net marauding from the back stood out at youth level in particular – scoring eight times for the East Midlands club featuring for the U18s and the U21s.
On his senior debut back in 2020, Leicester beating Sheffield United 2-0, his defensive teammate on the day in former Sunderland defender Johnny Evans was full of praise for the emerging full-back, saying: “Everything he did was immaculate.”
Thomas’ presence in the Sunderland side could make the Black Cats even more terrifying down the left flank, supercharging top scorer Jack Clarke potentially if signed with added creativity to help the winger and a knack of even popping up with a goal himself.
A lacklustre loan switch to Sheffield United in the first half of this season could hold Thomas back, but he will be eager to prove any doubters wrong making the drop-down to the second tier.
Thrown into the deep end arguably playing under the then dire management spell of Paul Heckingbottom towards the bottom of the Premier League, Thomas did show brief signs of his quality for the forlorn Blades. One display in November against Brighton, which saw United draw 1-1 with the Seagulls, stood out in particular with Thomas misplacing just five passes in the draw.
Thomas’ numbers vs Brighton
Stats by Sofascore
The £10k per week man will hope he can be more impactful for Sunderland in the second half of this season, making the trip up to the Stadium of Light to help fix Beale’s selection headaches at left-back on the way to promotion being reached.