Who is Lawrence Shankland? The free-scoring striker linked with Sunderland, Rangers and Swansea

Lawrence Shankland is thought to be interesting Sunderland
Lawrence Shankland is thought to be interesting Sunderland

Sunderland are one of several clubs thought to be interested in striker Lawrence Shankland - but who is he?

Jack Ross is already drawing up his list of transfer targets ahead of the January window and reports north of the border suggest that he is keen on Shankland.

MORE: Full story on Sunderland's Shankland interest

But the competition for the prolific striker is fierce and, looking at his goalscoring record, it's clear to see why several clubs are circling around the 23-year-old striker.

Here's everything you need to know about the reported Sunderland transfer target:

Where has he played?

Shankland's entire career has been spent north of the border, having started at Queen's Park.

His impressive form at the Glasgow-based side earned him a move to Scottish Premier League side Aberdeen in 2013, but he struggled for first team opportunities at Pittodrie and was instead farmed out on several loans.

Spells at Dunfermline and Greenock Morton sandwiched two temporary stints at St Mirren - where Ross saw exactly what the striker could offer.

READ: Alim Ozturk reveals why he joined Sunderland

The striker was released by Aberdeen in 2017 and was snapped up by Ayr United on an initial short-term deal.

But his exploits in front of goal earned him a longer deal with the Honest Men, where he has continued to excel in the Scottish second tier,

Shankland has also been handed two Scotland U21 caps and netted twice in a 2-1 victory against Hungary in 2015.

What's his goal-scoring record like?

Very good. Although some will point to the level he is playing at, his statistics remain impressive.

Shankland's loan spell at Dunfermline yielded seven goals in 13 outings while his first stint at St Mirren brought a similarly impressive return of ten strikes from 31 appearances.

Since signing for Ayr, the striker has pushed on and his record for his current employers is outstanding.

READ: Big clubs circling TWO Sunderland midfielders ahead of January window

The 23-year-old has netted 48 times in 50 games for the side - and with that form it's no surprise he is attracting such interest.

Who else is interested in him?

Several clubs are thought to be eyeing up a move for Shankland, meaning Sunderland could face some intense competition if they are to make a move.

Reports from Scotland suggest that Swansea are the front-runners for his signature with Graham Potter keen to seal a deal.

But Rangers, Ipswich, Hull and Wigan have all been credited with an interest in recent months.

What are the chances of Sunderland making a move?

Stewart Donald admitted last week that Sunderland could enter the market for a striker - but a lot will depend on injuries.

With Charlie Wyke and Duncan Watmore still to return from spells on the sidelines, and Josh Maja and Jerome Sinclair continuing to impress, questions would have to be asked as to whether the Black Cats are in need of another attacking player.