Sunderland are currently seventh in the Championship table and travel away to Preston North End on the final day of the season with a chance to move into the play-offs.
The Black Cats could yet make a late charge for promotion to the Premier League but they will need Coventry or Millwall to slip up whilst doing the job themselves.
Although it remains to be seen which division the club will be playing in next season, Kristjaan Speakman is reportedly already looking at possible signings for the summer transfer window.
Are Sunderland interested in Thom Haye?
It was recently claimed that Sunderland are one of the clubs keen on signing Heerenveen central midfielder Thom Haye at the end of the campaign.
The Eredivisie ace is a 28-year-old Dutchman who has been with his current club since joining from NAC Breda in January of last year.
He has been in phenomenal form in the Dutch top-flight this season and Speakman could land Tony Mowbray a big upgrade on current midfielder Dan Neil by securing Haye’s signature in the coming months.
How has Dan Neil performed this season?
The Black Cats gem has featured in 44 of the club’s 45 Championship matches, starting 41 times, and has been a solid if unspectacular performer in the middle of the park.
He has averaged a Sofasore rating of 6.79 and chipped in with two goals and four assists, whilst creating 0.7 chances per game for his teammates.
The Englishman has also made 3.3 tackles and interceptions per outing – winning 51% of his duels – and this shows that the 21-year-old has been able to combine his qualities in and out of possession.
Haye, meanwhile, has averaged a sublime Sofascore rating of 7.26 across 27 appearances in the Eredivisie producing one goal and three assists – creating 1.6 chances per match.
The £2.6k-per-week playmaker, who has been hailed as “impressive” by journalist Reon Boeringa, has also been able to showcase his defensive attributes with an eye-catching 3.9 tackles and interceptions per game – winning 54% of his battles.
These statistics suggest that Haye’s all-round performance levels, along with his creativity and defensive output and efficiency, would be a big upgrade on what Neil has delivered in the Championship this term.
That is not to say that the current Sunderland ace is a dud who needs to be replaced but bringing in an experienced head who could improve the team may also provide the 21-year-old with an excellent mentor who can help him to develop in the years to come.
Competition is healthy and adding Haye to the group could be a shrewd move by Speakman if the gem can translate his form in English football.