Michael Beale issues his verdict on long-running Sunderland transfer debate - and drops big January hint
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Michael Beale has confirmed that Sunderland are weighing up signing a specialist defensive midfielder in the January window, but says he has full belief in his current midfielders to manage the situation if one does not arrive.
Sunderland have lacked a holding midfielder since Corry Evans suffered an ACL injury a year ago, and Beale confirmed that week that the club captain is still at least a month away from returning. The task of protecting the back four initially fell to Dan Neil, before Pierre Ekwah took on most of that workload last season.
Both have done admirably at times and Beale says the experience will benefit their careers moving forward, but agreed with the assessment that their games were best suited by playing in more advanced midfield roles. That also applies to Jay Matete, who is returning from injury. Sunderland are also looking to try and add a striker this month, while cover on the left side of defence has also emerged as a priority due to the club's injury situation.
"Look the three that we've got are very versatile, they're all can play as an eight that runs on and that would probably be Jobe's best position as well," Beale said.
"The three of them are finding a way to perform and do very well, when you look at where we are in the league and some of the teams that we have beaten.
"We can point to some disappointing days so far this season but there have been really positive days as well. Do I think they could do with a dedicated number six in behind them, would it help their skillset? Yeah. But at this moment in time, you're seeing Dan and Pierre adapt their game and that is for sure going to help them in the long run as well. Just a little bit of grey hair in terms of Corry would help wouldn't it, just that experience and talking on the pitch. Again, we can find a solution within the building but the nature of it is that when the window is open, we'll look."
Beale confirmed earlier in his press conference that no deals were imminent at this stage.