Sunderland eye Scottish hotshot - but big clubs circle midfield duo

Lawrence Shankland, left.
Lawrence Shankland, left.

Sunderland have been linked with a move for Scottish striker Lawrence Shankland - with January set to be a busy month for the Black Cats.

Jack Ross has already started discussions with head of recruitment Tony Coton over potential incomings and outgoings when the transfer window reopens.

The Sunderland boss would ideally like a couple of new faces, but that could depend on whether the club can reduce their wage bill further.

Bryan Oviedo has been tipped to leave the club in January, but it is midfield duo Bali Mumba and George Honeyman who were attracting headlines over the weekend.

Premier League giants Manchester City and Chelsea are believed to have scouted teenager Mumba in recent weeks. The 17-year-old signed his first professional contract last week, tying him to Sunderland until 2021, but that hasn't stopped clubs keeping tabs on the exciting prospect.

Sunderland skipper Honeyman, meanwhile, is out of contract in the summer, but owner Stewart Donald revealed last week that there is a clause in his deal which will activate another year once he plays a certain number of games.

Honeyman has been linked with a move to Championship promotion contenders Sheffield United, whose boss Chris Wilder is a fan of the Academy graduate.

If Sunderland do free up some wages, Ross could bring in a couple of players, and with a striker a priority, he has been linked with Ayr United hotshot Shankland.

The ex-Aberdeen man has been a hit in the Scottish Championship since joining Ayr, and Ross knows him well after his time at St Mirren.

Shankland hit 29 goals in 33 games last term, and this season he has 19 goals in 17 games – with Swansea City and Ipswich also monitoring the 23-year-old.

Donald said last week: "Jack would like a couple potentially. We may look at a striker depending on making sure Charlie (Wyke) comes back.

"Possibly a centre-back addition - top-end and back-end of the pitch just to make sure we have got enough numbers and enough quality."