Sunderland eye move for 26-year-old free agent

Sunderland boss Phil Parkinson is eyeing a possible swoop for former Millwall striker Aiden O’Brien, according to the Northern Echo.

The 26-year-old came through the youth academy at the Den and made his first-team debut in 2011. Since then, he has spent time on loan at Crawley, Aldershot and Torquay before going on to make 226 appearances for the Lions. In that time, he bagged 44 goals for the club but was released last week.

O’Brien is also a full Ireland international, having made four appearances and scoring one goal, against Poland in September 2018 friendly. Last season, he scored four goals in 21 appearances for Millwall, but did not feature after the restart of the Championship season.

Sunderland, who have struggled to find goals since dropping into the third-tier, are not the only club thought to be in the hunt for the striker. Kyle Lafferty, Antoine Semenyo and Duncan Watmore have all left the club, but Parkinson has begun to build his squad, bringing back Tom Flanagan and being widely expected to sign Bailey Wright in the coming days too.

Grant Leadbitter is also back training with the club, whilst Aiden Mcgeady is not; however potential suitors Charlton will struggle to offer the former Celtic man a deal despite him spending time on loan there last season.

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Sunderland are going to have to cut their cloth accordingly this season; there will be no big spending on the likes of Grigg or Wyke this season. O’Brien will certainly fit the bill; he’s free, young enough to develop and proven (to a degree) in the division above.

A League One move looks likely for the Eire international and aside from perhaps Ipswich, few clubs will be attractive in the way Sunderland are. However, he may also have one eye on the recent takeover saga at the club and chose stability elsewhere.

It’s set to be an interesting few weeks for Black Cats’ fans.

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