Sunderland are reportedly wanting to bolster their midfield and attacking options before the summer transfer window finally slams shut on Friday.
Who have Sunderland signed this summer?
Tony Mowbray and sporting director Kristjaan Speakman have already dipped into the market to bring in seven new players to improve the squad after the 2022/23 campaign.
Jenson Seelt, Jobe Bellingham, Nathan Bishop, Luis Semedo, Bradley Dack, Nectarios Triantis, and Eliezer Mayenda have all been brought in on permanent deals so far.
It was recently reported that the Black Cats failed with a €5m (£4.3m) offer to sign young Lille winger Alan Virginius, although it remains to be seen whether or not they will go back in with an improved bid.
How good is Alan Virginius?
The 20-year-old gem is an unproven talent who is still in the early stages of his development and could come in with a view to him being the dream long-term heir to Jack Clarke on the left wing.
The transfer speculation surrounding the ex-Tottenham Hotspur prospect suggests that Mowbray and Speakman need a plan in place in the event of his departure, as he would leave a significant hole within the squad.
Clarke was an outstanding performer for the Black Cats last season as the English attacker produced a terrific nine goals and 12 assists across 47 Championship outings.
These statistics show that the 22-year-old dynamo has the ability to score and assist goals on a regular basis from a left wing position, which was also backed up by his team-leading 1.7 chances created per game last term.
There is no guarantee that Virginius would be able to immediately replicate that level of production in the Championship but he is a player who has the potential to develop into a Clarke-esque figure out wide for Sunderland if they are able to bring him in.
The 5 foot 9 prodigy, who was described as a “huge talent” by scout Jacek Kulig, produced five goals and three ‘big chances’ created in seven Ligue 2 starts and 31 appearances in total throughout the 2021/22 campaign for Sochaux.
This came after three goals and two assists in four starts during the previous season, which shows that he has the ability to deliver goals and assists on a regular basis in spite of limited minutes on the pitch.
His impressive form as a teenager, at the time, earned him a move to French giants Lille last summer and the talented gem has scored once in 16 Ligue 1 outings for the club to date, which has included two starts.
Virginius also showcased his creative skills during the U20 World Cup for France this year with 1.7 key passes per match to go along with three goals in three games at the tournament.
These statistics suggest that the potential is there for the 20-year-old ace to deliver a similar level of attacking threat from the left flank as both a scorer and creator if he is able to remain consistent over the course of an entire season of starts, which Sunderland could offer him the chance to have if Clarke moves on this summer or in a future window.
This is why Mowbray should go back in for the talented youngster as his statistics suggest that he has the scope to develop into a dream heir to the English phenom.