Sunderland fans have become used to seeing Jimmy Dunne star at the heart of their defence as of late, but come next season they’re going to need a new defender to fill his shoes as the 21-year-old will be returning to his parent club. That’s where Deji Oshilaja comes in, the classy Wimbledon centre-back who HITC Sport claim could be Sunderland-bound.
The 25-year-old centre-back has been key to the Dons’ miraculous escape this season. The League One club looked destined for relegation but have fought back against the odds to stay up, and their captain has been key to that. However, with his contract expiring next month it could be time for the defender to move on, and Sunderland would be a brilliant next step for him.
Jimmy Dunne will almost certainly be missed, that much is guaranteed, but the fact that the Black Cats could be set to replace him with Oshilaja will make the blow of Dunne returning to his parent club much easier to take. It also makes sense for Jack Ross to be targetting players on permanent deals instead of relying on an influx of loanees every summer.
The next few weeks will be key for the Mackems. Promotion still hangs in the balance and after they overcame Portsmouth 1-0 at the Stadium of Light anything is possible as they prepare themselves for what promises to be a nail-biting second leg at Fratton Park. The last thing that the Wearside club needs is another season in League One, although either way Oshilaja will be welcomed with open arms.
The challenges of the Championship will be tough, as the Wearsiders found out last season, but if they are able to beat off Pompey and then either Doncaster or Charlton then the recruitment will need to start immediately as they aim for a strong return season in the second-tier. Jimmy Dunne will be a distant memory by then, and hopefully bringing in Oshilaja from Wimbledon won’t be the only move they make.
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