N'Diaye Could Be The Man To Save The Season
Sunderland legend Gary Bennett says Alfred N'Diaye sounds like exactly the sort of player the Sunderland squad needs.
However, it could take the French Under-21 international until the end of the season to fully acclimatise to the Premier League.
Turkish outfit Bursaspor have agreed a fee in the region of £3m for the player and N’Diaye is off to Wearside for a medical.
That would please Bennett, who believes a powerful midfield presence had to be Sunderland’s top priority in this transfer window.
Gary Bennett: “If he’s as good as I’m sure Martin O’Neill hopes he will be, then he will make a big difference to our side because we’ve been lacking in this department.
“There are plenty of good things about this Sunderland team, but height is one of the areas where we are short in my opinion.
“I think that we have been crying out for a big, powerful ball-winning, ball-playing midfield in the mould of a Mohamed Diame.
“Sunderland were after Diame in the summer before he went to West Ham from Wigan on a free.
“And N’Diaye sounds as though he’s exactly that sort of player – a big lad, well over six foot and strong too, someone who will give us that physical presence we’ve been lacking.
“He sounds like a Martin O’Neill sort of player – young, pacy, powerful and capable of really covering the ground.
“I don’t want to put too much pressure on a young lad who hasn’t even joined yet, and is bound to have a challenge in getting to grips with the Premier League if he does.
“But you don’t get too many poor players playing for the French Under 21s.
“And if he is the player we hope he is, he will be able to enhance the game of players like Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon, James McClean, Jack Colback and Lee Cattermole.
“He will help out those who do all the grafting, ball-winning work because he’ll be doing his fair share.
“But if he’s capable of carrying the ball forward up the park, he’s going to be a massive help to the likes of Adam Johnson.
“We all know what Johnson is all about, but tracking back 30 yards to tackle in his own half, or receiving the ball on the half-way line is not his game.
“He needs to be receiving the ball near the 18-yard box all the time, and if N’Diaye fulfils the function in the squad that Sunderland want him to, then it could have a real impact on Johnson’s game in particular.”
Sunderland Squad 2.Bardsley3.Rose5.Brown6.Cattermole7.Larsson8.Gardner9.Campbell10.Wickham11.McFadden12.Kilgallon13.Pickford14.Colback15.Vaughan16.O'Shea19.Bramble20.Westwood21.Johnson A22.Mignolet23.McClean24.Cuellar25.Saha26.Fletcher28.Sessegnon Sunderland Fixtures Saturday January 12 15:00 Premier League West Ham United (H)Tuesday January 15 19:45 FA Cup - 3rd Rnd Replay Bolton (H) Saturday January 19 15:00 Premier League Wigan Athletic (A) Tuesday January 29 19:45 Premier League Swansea City(H)
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