Sunderland have made signing a new striker in this transfer window a priority. Michael Beale wants to sign a proven goalscorer in the Championship who can help fire them into the play-offs.
In truth, the Black Cats have struggled to score goals centrally since Ross Stewart departed for Southampton in the summer. Although Tony Mowbray made a conscious effort to fill that void by signing the likes of Mason Burstow, Nazariy Rusyn and Luis Hemir Semedo, the money wasn’t spent wisely, and now Beale is left with a trio who have struggled to find the net.
Of their summer acquisitions, the only striker to score for Sunderland has been Rusyn, but his goal in the 2-0 victory over Preston wasn’t enough to convince Beale they have enough firepower.
Indeed, the Wearsiders have been linked with a whole host of strikers on loan, including Bournemouth’s Kieffer Moore, but he has attracted a lot of Championship competition. Another name who has popped onto their radar is Blackburn Rovers forward Sam Gallagher.
Although he should be easier to sign than Moore, his record of 48 goals in 246 appearances in the second tier will hardly convince anyone that he’s the man to fire Sunderland to promotion. Instead, Beale should be looking at Burnley striker Michael Obafemi, who would be a far better alternative than the 28-year-old.
Why Sunderland should sign Michael Obafemi over Sam Gallagher
According to journalist Darren Witcoop, Obafemi could depart Turf Moor on loan this month and would be a good pickup for any Championship club.
Writing on X (formerly Twitter), he said: “Michael Obafembi could be on the move this month. One to keep an eye on. The Irishman suffered an injury hit start to the season at Burnley. The ex-Swansea striker would be a good pick up for a Championship club seeking firepower.”
With this in mind, Sunderland should be one of the clubs queuing up to take the Republic of Ireland international on loan.
A more clinical forward than Gallagher with a respectable 40 goals in 100 appearances at senior and youth level, as per Transfermarkt, Obafemi has proven he knows where the back of the net is.
During his time at Swansea City, he plundered 13 goals in 32 appearances in the 2021/22 Championship campaign.
By contrast, Gallagher’s best season in his career was an 11-goal haul achieved in 2016/17 at Blackburn.
Aside from having the edge in terms of scoring, Obafemi also has better all-round game than his counterpart, linking up play with his tidy passing and using his low-centre of gravity to weave in and out of defenders.
For example, the Rovers man only averaged a pass completion of 55% last term and completed just 26% of his dribbles successfully, as per Sofascore.
In that 2021/22 campaign when he was on fire with the Swans, meanwhile, Obafemi notched up an 83% pass completion and recorded 50% of his dribbles, which displays he’s better at bringing his team mates into play and causing a threat in-behind.
Once lauded for his “unbelievable pace” by former manager Mark Hughes at Southampton, the 23-year-old can complement the Sunderland attack by using his blistering speed on the counter.