Sunderland may find it difficult to keep hold of Jack Clarke this summer, with recent reports suggesting that he is attracting interest from the Premier League.
However, the Black Cats could find a potential heir to the Englishman in Villarreal winger Haissem Hassan, who has been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light ahead of the upcoming transfer window.
Could Sunderland sign Hassan?
French news outlet L’Equipe reported earlier this year that a number of sides across Europe including Sunderland and Brentford are keen to recruit the 21-year-old this summer.
The winger recently made his debut for Villarreal’s first team and the report suggests that Quique Setien is ready to integrate him into the first team fully, with the expectation that he could replace key player Samuel Chukwueze in the future.
Hassan has just one year left on his contract with the Yellow Submarine so could be sold on the cheap this summer if he leaves in search of regular first-team football.
Could Hassan replace Clarke at Sunderland?
Although he has mustered just two goals and two assists in 51 appearances for the B team at Villarreal he did catch the eye on loan with CD Mirandes last season, notching three goals and six assists. Notably, the aforementioned report claims that his dribble success rate was one of the highest in Europe at the time.
This will certainly pique the interest of Sunderland as Hassan could be an ideal man to replace Clarke on the wing should he earn a move to the Premier League.
It was suggested by TEAMtalk earlier this month that the Black Cats were keen to reward the 22-year-old with a new contract at the Stadium of Light in order to fend off interest from Brentford and Crystal Palace, both of whom are said to be making regular checks on his progress.
The young winger has proven himself to be a superb signing since joining from Tottenham Hotspur and just enjoyed his finest campaign in Sunderland colours, registering an impressive nine goals and 12 assists in 47 Championship appearances, with a superb 7.11 average rating from WhoScored.
This ranked him as the second-best performer in Tony Mowbray’s squad behind Ross Stewart so he is clearly a vital player for Sunderland and one they will be desperate to keep hold of as they look to mount another promotion challenge next season.
However, if he is swayed by a move to the top flight, then Hassan could prove to be a strong replacement, as the Black Cats continue their recent transfer philosophy of targeting promising youngsters, with fellow young Frenchman Edouard Michut and Pierre Ekwah joining the club this season.
Previously dubbed as a “quality” option for France’s U21s by football talent scout Jacek Kulig, Hassan looks to have a lot of potential and could be another top signing for the future by Sunderland this summer.