[button color=”green”]Chris Brunt[/button]
The West Brom captain, whose contract expires on July 1st, will surely be an appealing free transfer for any mid-level Premier League side. The Northern Ireland international has been something of an unsung hero in the Premier League in recent years, especially in the past season, when Albion achieved their highest ever placed finish in the Premier League table.
Brunt is an attacking midfielder, who can also play comfortably on both flanks, who is probably best known for his wand-like left foot. He is adept at taking set pieces extremely effectively, and has a powerful shot. Brunt has also shown his consistency, becoming a reliable choice under the various different Baggies manager he has played under, including Roy Hodgson, Steve Clarke and Roberto di Matteo.
This shows Brunt’s merits when it comes to being a member of the squad as well as ability on the pitch. Sunderland are crying out for some quality and creativity in the final third, such was their deflated style last term. Brunt perfectly fits the bill in a footballing and financial sense as Sunderland look to kick on in Paolo di Canio’s first full season as a coach.
[button color=”red” target=””]Florent Malouda[/button]
In footballing terms, Malouda would fill many of the same criteria as Brunt should Sunderland look to procure his services. Malouda was one of the best players in the country when Chelsea won the double under Carlo Ancelotti in 2010. His sparkled alongside Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka and had a large hand in Chelsea’s spectacular goalscoring form that season.
Since then he seems to have become embroiled in some kind of legal dispute with his Stamford Bridge overlords. He spent the whole of last season training with the youth and reserve teams, even when Rafael Benitez took over, a manager who was trying to sign him for Liverpool when he originally joined the Blues.
Should Sunderland meet Malouda’s no doubt meaty wage demands, he could emerge as an outstanding signing, especially for free. He no doubt feels he has something to prove as a professional after being snubbed by Chelsea last season.
This could prove the incentive for him to have one last high quality season at this level. He would no doubt prove an excellent signing in Di Canio’s search for real characters to drive his team forward.
[button color=”orange” target=””]Mladen Petric[/button]
Petric was widely hailed as one of last summer’s shrewdest signings last season when he notched a number of excellent goals very early on in his Fulham career.
Having previously worked with Martin Jol at Hamburg, Petric was greeted with much excitement due to his pedigree in the Bundesliga and for his national team, Croatia, as well as his renowned penchant for scoring ridiculously good goals. After a few good games, Fulham clearly saw the opportunity to sign Dimitar Berbatov from Manchester United as too good to pass up.
The signing of the elegant Bulgarian has bumped Petric down the pecking order somewhat. After performing well when he was on the pitch, he is eligible to leave on a free contract this summer. Petric’s deadly finishing capability and continental experience would add much to a rather workmanlike Sunderland strike force.
After relying on Steven Fletcher so heavily last season, and Danny Graham failing to score for the Black Cats since his January move from Swansea, Sunderland could most certainly do with a striker of Petric’s calibre.