Who is Jason Naismith? The in-demand Scottish defender wanted by Sunderland

Jason Naismith (left)
Jason Naismith (left)

Sunderland have been linked with a move for Ross County defender Jason Naismith - but who is he?

The full-back has been linked with a move to the Stadium of Light as Jack Ross looks to strengthen a leaky backline.

And Naismith could well fit Ross’ needs, with the 23-year-old attracting plenty of interest this summer after the Staggies’ relegation last season.

Indeed, reports from Scotland suggest that a £200,000 bid may have already been tabled as Sunderland battle it out with several other League One clubs for his signature.

Here’s everything you need to know about Sunderland’s latest transfer target:

Where has he played?

Naismith is still in the early stages of his career, but has already made his mark on Scottish football.

He came through the ranks at St Mirren and spent time on loan at Morton and Cowdenbeath where his dynamic performances caught the eye.

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His big break into the first team came in 2012, and he went on to make just shy of 100 appearances for the Buddies.

Indeed, current Sunderland boss Ross briefly worked with Naismith during his time in Paisley, before the defender was snapped up by top-flight Ross County for an undisclosed fee in January 2017

His progression continues in Dingwall, where he has made over 50 appearances for the club and has established a reputation as one of the most promising defenders in the league - despite Ross County’s relegation last season.

Naismith has also picked up international recognition, having picked up caps for Scotland at every level up to under-21.

What type of player is he?

There’s a reason that Naismith was viewed as one of the best defenders in the Scottish top flight last season.

In fact, there are several.

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Naismith would definitely fall into the category of a ‘modern day full-back’ - as comfortable bombing forward up the flanks as he is defending.

And these attributes have seen his stock dramatically rise over the last year.

Towering at over six foot tall, Naismith’s aerial presence is a big advantage - but he offers strength on the ground too, and is tough in the tackle and happy to battle a pacy winger.

His attacking threat can’t be understated either, with Naismith becoming a real focal point for Ross County last season with his delivery from wide areas a real asset.

Why does Jack Ross want to bring him in?

Sunderland have been extremely vulnerable defensively in recent years, and Ross - a former defender himself - is keen to address this.

With last season’s regular right back Billy Jones released, there is a big gap to fill in the Black Cats’ backline.

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Ross will be keen to bring in a player he trusts and who will buy into the fluid, attacking style of football he wants to play.

Naismith looks like he fits the bill, and he would certainly fill a problem position for Sunderland.

Who else is interested?

Reports north of the border suggest that Naismith won’t be short of suitors this summer.

Ross County’s chairman today alleged - via the Press & Journal - that Sunderland, Peterborough and Burton have already lodged bids for the full-back.

And other reports suggest that Aberdeen are also keen on Naismith after he impressed against them last season.