Modibo Diakite could cause a Premier League scrap this summer as his contract is up at Lazio and there has already been speculation linking him with Liverpool, Sunderland, Fulham and Norwich.
It is the front pair of this quartet though that appear to be leading the race for the French central defender, but it would seem that his style and attributes would best suit a switch to the Stadium of Light.
Paolo Di Canio has indicated that he is preparing to bring in around six new faces in the close season with the club’s Premier League status now secure and it is in the attacking positions that are expected to be in higher demand.
However, some added pace would not go amiss at the heart of the defence, with neither John O’Shea or Carlos Cuellar blessed with searing speed.
Speed and physicality are the assets offered by Diakite, with his one area of weakness seemingly being his distribution, as he is not the most technically gifted of central defenders.
With Brendan Rodgers aiming to build possession through defence at Liverpool, Diakite would not be a logical replacement for Jamie Carragher and would more likely be in competition with Sebastian Coates for a back-up defensive role.
To date, Di Canio’s philosophy has been the utter opposite, as he has been happy to concede the bigger chunk of possession, with Sunderland’s tactics more based around pressing in higher areas and getting the ball forward quickly.
Although, Diakite still has room to improve at age 26, it is unlikely that he will ever by a ball-playing defender and so a team with aspirations of lengthy spells of possession, especially with ball-carrying defenders, would not be a rational choice for his next club, potentially ruling out Liverpool.
A team hoping to challenge for a Europa League spot or finish in the top half of the Premier League seems about Diakite’s actual level and his athleticism could be invaluable to Sunderland if the right players are brought in around him, namely a midfielder who likes to drop deep and collect balls from the toes of the centre halves.
Finishing as high as possible will remain their aim for this season and it is 9/1 that they triumph at Tottenham on the final day and 6/1 they finish above Newcastle to end the campaign as the top North East club.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.