April 23, 2024

Michael Beale may potentially fire this Sunderland attacker as part of a Deadline Day deal.
Nazariy Rusyn’s late strike sent Sunderland away fans into a frenzy against Middlesbrough yesterday, with the Ukrainian striker’s crazy effort miraculously finding the back of the net to give Michael Beale’s side a share of the points.

In actuality, the visiting Black Cats would have been content with a 1-1 draw, with several Sunderland strikers getting a day off in front of goal due to Rusyn’s heroics off the bench.

Abdoullah Ba, in particular, had a miserable afternoon against Michael Carrick’s Boro, despite having appeared for the Black Cats in recent Championship games prior to this close battle.

This could lead to Beale trying to freshen up his squad for their next second-tier encounter against Plymouth Argyle this weekend, with the ex-Rangers manager inclined to give Romaine Mundle his first chance to impress ahead of the underwhelming Sunderland number 17.

Abdoullah Ba’s season in numbers

It’s fair to assume that the 20-year-old Frenchman must frustrate big sections of the Sunderland crowd whenever he takes the pitch, being a world-beater one day and absolutely wasteful the next.

Ba has three goals and four assists in 29 games in all competitions for Beale’s promotion contenders this season, with his recent performance against Stoke City being the high point of his up-and-down season thus far.

Despite only 37 touches against Steven Schumacher’s visitors, the explosive forward led Sunderland to a confident 3-1 victory with a goal and two assists.

However, as impactful as Ba was against Stoke, he was way off the pace against Boro, highlighting the inconsistencies that remain in his game as a youngster learning the ropes after being promoted from the U21s to the senior team.

Despite having four more touches against Boro than his productive day at work against the Potters, Ba was neutralised by the hosts throughout the game, forcing Beale to rely on Rusyn late on to salvage something from the close encounter.

This underwhelming performance from the £4.4 per week winger, who was once regarded as “superb” by football journalist Philip West, could pave the way for Deadline Day signing Mundle to step in and impress.

The former Tottenham Hotspur forward will be eager to follow in the footsteps of Jack Clarke, who has succeeded at the Stadium of Light since leaving north London.

Why Mundle comes into the team

With questions over Patrick Roberts’ fitness and ability to play a full 90 minutes, Mundle could be given a start against the Pilgrims.

Mundle, who can play down both channels, found his greatest satisfaction while playing for Spurs U21s on the right wing, where he scored four goals and assisted four times in 21 games.


Mundle, who joined Standard Liege after leaving his boyhood club, demonstrated glimpses of his quality while in Belgium, with one 24-minute performance against Club Brugge standing out last year.


Despite barely being on the pitch for a short time, Mundle completed one dribbling attempt and made one important pass.

Furthermore, the former Spurs youngster’s persistence and aggression were visible in his efforts to help his team battle back in the match, which Liege eventually lost 2-0, winning five ground duels in total despite being on the pitch for only 30 minutes.

Sunderland’s approach to the transfer market did not shy away from trying to find young and eager diamonds once more, with the goal that Mundle may become a regular in the Black Cats’ first team over time.

That might come at the price of Ba, if the 20-year-old continues to perform inconsistently for the Championship side.


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