Sunderland director of football Lee Congerton has backed new boy Adam Matthews to flourish under Dick Advocaat – after revealing he’s been tracking the defender for a long time.
Matthews put pen to paper on a four-year contract last night, moving from Celtic in a £2million deal.
Even though he is only 23 years old, he has a wealth of experienceLEE CONGERTON
Sunderland turned their attention to the Welshman after being thwarted in their bid to sign Carl Jenkinson on loan from Arsenal. The Black Cats had agreed a loan fee with the Gunners, but Jenkinson’s preference was to return to West Ham, where he spent last season.
There was also interest in Leeds United defender Sam Byram, but the Elland Road outfit slapped an £8million price tag on their man.
Sunderland have secured the services of Wales international Matthews for a quarter of that price, which represents a good piece of business by Congerton, who has kept a close eye on the right-back’s progress at Celtic.
Congerton said: “Adam is a player we have been tracking for some time.
“Even though he is only 23 years old, he has a wealth of experience, and I am sure he will continue to improve under the leadership of Dick Advocaat.”
Advocaat had targeted a new right-back since confirming his return as head coach last month, having opted against bringing Anthony Reveillere back to the Stadium of Light because he felt the Frenchman didn’t fit into the style of football he wants to play.
Matthews appears to fit the bill, gaining a reputation as a pacy, attack-minded full-back both at Cardiff, his first club, and then with Celtic.
Advocaat added: “We know that we need quality players to improve competition for places in the side, so Adam is a welcome addition to our squad and we are very pleased to welcome him to Sunderland.”
Matthews began his career with Cardiff City, making over 40 appearances for the Welsh side between 2009 and 2011, before moving north of the border to Scottish giants Celtic, where he won four successive SPL titles.
He becomes Sunderland’s second signing of the summer after Sebastian Coates joined on a permanent basis after his loan spell last season.
After a quiet start to the summer, the Black Cats have sprung into action to strengthen two keys areas of their defence - spending just £4million in the process.
Sunderland remain in the market for another centre-half with another Celtic player, Virgil van Dijk, and Belgium defender Nicolas Lombaerts both linked.
Their focus, however, will also now be on improving Advocaat’s attacking options. Sunderland struggled for goals last season, and the Dutchman is keen to have more creativity at his disposal.
They remain in negotiations over West Ham winger Stewart Downing, while a loan move for Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel is another option.