April 22, 2024

Kristjaan Speakman and Sunderland completed several January transfer deals. However, Speakman may regret not acting on one reported target.

Sunderland completed their January transfer business late.

They had a lot of work to do in the New Year after ousting Tony Mowbray and conducting a frenetic managerial hunt before hiring the uninspiring Michael Beale.

Sunderland fired Beale last month, following the January transfer window in which the Black Cats signed Leo Hjelde, Callum Styles, and Romain Mundle.

All have got mixed reviews thus far, with Styles struggling for Sunderland after joining on loan from Barnsley.

Sunderland needed a midfielder

Aside from the continued need for a striker, Sunderland may have benefited from a holding midfielder.

Since Corry Evans’ injury last year, Sunderland has not had someone in the middle of the park who can put in a good defensive shift.

Pierre Ekwah may have the expertise to do so, but the Frenchman now lacks a work ethic, with Michael Graham criticizing Ekwah for his unwillingness to perform the dirty job.

Sunderland failed to sign a holding, tackling midfielder in January, but former player Yann M’Vila has been linked with a return to the club.

Sunderland were connected to M’Vila in January.

Olympiacos released the former French international and ex-Sunderland loanee at the end of last season.

Sunderland and Speakman declined to sign the 33-year-old M’Vila, who instead joined West Brom.

M’Vila made his debut against Bristol City last weekend, coming off the bench for 10 minutes but demonstrating his talent in that short period.

M’Vila, regarded as a ‘good’ player by Baggies manager Carlos Corberan, won two out of two duels after going on, completing five out of eight passes, making one interception, and earning a Sofascore of 6.7 for his brief appearance.

West Brom reporter Lewis Cox said M’Vila had an ‘impressive’, albeit brief debut cameo.

Kristjaan Speakman should’ve pulled the trigger on Yann M’Vila

Free agent Yann M'Vila makes 'only club' claim about Sunderland - Sports  Illustrated Sunderland Nation

 

Sunderland required a center midfielder in January.

They needed an M’Vila-type player to give steel in the middle of the park, and recent defeats and bad defensive performances have demonstrated that.

And M’Vila has demonstrated at West Brom that, while he may take some time to reach full speed, he is still a player capable of bolstering the midfield.

Sunderland fans have witnessed firsthand how M’Vila can dominate a midfield with his toughness while also dictating play with his passing.

And it’s possible that Sunderland passed on M’Vila for a variety of reasons, including his lack of match fitness, which is understandable, as well as his advanced age.

He’s 33 years old, which is much above the age range of Sunderland’s preferred players.

However, Sunderland’s faltering squad lacks experience. If M’Vila had had the remainder of the season to become healthy, Sunderland would have had a top-tier midfielder on their hands next season, as well as another crucial member of the starting lineup.

Speakman may be regretting this squandered opportunity.

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