Sunderland are one of three League One clubs looking to sign Brighton and Hove Albion defender Haydon Roberts on loan, as reported by The Athletic.
The Black Cats are still to make serious additions to their squad, but the 18-year-old is one loan star they’re keen on according to the reports. Roberts has appeared for England at Under 17 and Under 19 level, as well as making a senior appearance for the Seagulls last year, scoring in their 3-1 League Cup defeat against Aston Villa.
He’s also appeared for their Under 21 side in the EFL trophy, but it is now thought Brighton would like him to get some senior experience, which has put Phil Parkinson on alert. He’s already added defender Bailey Wright to his current squad, as well as striker Aiden O’Brien, but could now move for the exciting youngster. If he does, he is likely to be met with competition from two sources; Blackpool and AFC Wimbledon.
Blackpool, led by former Liverpool Under 23 boss Neil Critchley, could be a popular destination given the Head Coach’s work with youngsters in the past, whilst a move to Wimbledon would allow the exciting young talent to remain close to home.
This will be the first senior move for Roberts, who has impressed coming through the ranks at the Amex, and it may be vital in his development with a view to a place in the Brighton first team over the coming years.
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I think a move to Sunderland or Blackpool would deliver some first-team football, but would he be a regular for either side, especially if they’re chasing promotion? If he’s good enough, maybe so, but there is nervousness from supporters at times around young, inexperienced defenders, especially when they come up against season forwards such as James Norwood or Ian Henderson.
A move to Wimbledon might make more sense; the Dons would perhaps offer more senior opportunities and any loan spell is all about playing games for Roberts. There is a belief that the Wombles will be involved in the lower reaches of the table and that might be character building as well as offering a chance to grip the physical side of the senior game.