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Stealing From Premier League Relegation Candidates: Sunderland

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Newcastle needs to add some talent, and what better place to look than the teams it could be replacing.

Leicester City v Sunderland - Premier League
Jermaine Defoe has notched 29 goals over the past two seasons playing for Sunderland.
Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

As Newcastle’s promotional push continues, fans continue to think about which players they could sign for next season. I have seen everything from Wayne Rooney, to Daniel Sturridge to Luke Shaw, but knowing Newcastle, they will be unwilling to splash the cash (as much as I would love to sign Luke Shaw).

Instead, the much more Mike Ashley thing to do would be to look at clubs being relegated from the Premier League and poach players from those teams who want to stay in the top division. Let’s look at the best options from the teams currently in the bottom five of the table. At long last we will take a look at the bottom of the table in the Premier League.

Sunderland

There has been a lot of clamoring for one Jermaine Defoe to come to the other side of the age old derby. Defoe has scored 14 goals in the Premier League this season, placing him tied for sixth in league with Sergio Agüero and Dele Alli. Make no mistake, Defoe is not either of those two other players. At 34, he is on the back nine of his career, probably nearing the 18th hole. He hasn’t shown too many signs of slowing down with 15 goals for the Black Cats a season ago, but Newcastle should be wary of overspending. A one-year rental, which is likely all Defoe might have left, is not worth all that much for a team who is looking to build a team that can compete and stay up without concern. If Sunderland offers him up cheap, then by all means, but if there is some holdout looking for more money, I want nothing to do with this.

On the flip side of the equation, both on the field and in terms of age, is Jordan Pickford. The 23-year-old keeper has been a bright spot on an otherwise dismal Sunderland defense. He has made 21 starts in England’s top division this year, conceding 34 goals in the process. That isn’t a great ratio, especially when you compare it to the success Karl Darlow had at the end of last season, but with Newcastle having few options of real merit behind Darlow, adding Pickford would be a good move. The thing that sells me is that he has made 102 saves in 21 starts. At almost five per game, that is a much higher rate than Darlow ever had to face. Placing in front of an improving Newcastle back four would likely benefit Pickford a lot. His value is definitely high right now, but Sunderland all but guaranteed to go down, a deal for the young keeper could be possible.

The final Sunderland player even worth talking about (cause clearly most of this group is rubbish) has to be Jan Kirchhoff. He hasn’t done much worth talking about this season, but that has mostly been due to injury. A former product of Frankfurt’s youth system, he had bounced around Germany before finally landing with Sunderland in January of 2016. He played well after joining the Black Cats that winter and looked set to be an integral part of this year’s team before injuries derailed the majority of his season. He has versatility, playing mostly though as a deep-lying midfielder. After missing so much of the year and joining Sunderland for just £1 million, it is hard to imagine that Newcastle would have to pay much to land the former Bayern player.

Disagree with what I said, or is there someone I missed, let me know in the comments. Make sure you check out all five of these articles assessing who Newcastle might go after from all of these relegation candidates.