‘A smart piece of business if they get it done’ – Sunderland make move for Exeter City starlet: The verdict

Logo: Football League World

Football League World

This article is part of Football League World’s ‘The Verdict‘ series, which provides personal opinions from the FLW writers regarding the latest breaking news, teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…

Sunderland have made an offer to sign Josh Key, according to reports from reports from Sky Sports, via the Sunderland Echo.

The 21-year-old Exeter City man enjoyed an excellent season for the League Two club last term after making 48 appearances for the side and providing five assists in the process.

Lee Johnson is determined to add further signings to his squad ahead of the big kick-off in League One in two weeks’ time and so a move for the talented right-back would certainly be a boost ahead of what will be a big season in the club’s history.

So would Josh Key be a good signing for Sunderland?

The team at FLW have their say…

Toby Wilding

I think this could prove to be a smart piece of business for Sunderland if they get it done.

Key is clearly a promising player with plenty of potential, and at the age of just 21, he has plenty of time to develop further, meaning he could be an asset to the Black Cats for years to come.

Indeed, the versatility he brings with his ability to play in both central midfield and at full-back, two positions Sunderland are somewhat short on options in at the minute, could make him a very useful addition to Lee Johnson’s side.

Add to that the fact that having only signed free agents and loans so far this summer, the fee involved with this deal could represent something of a statement of intent to the club’s fans to build the mood around the Stadium of Light, so I do think this is one worth pursuing for those in charge of the Black Cats.

Ben Wignall

Exeter’s academy always seems to produce some incredibly talented players and Key seems to be no exception to that.

The 2020-21 campaign may have been Key’s first taste of regular football but he was mightily impressive, racking up five assists as a flying full-back for the Grecians whilst also playing a bit further forward on the right wing on occasion.

It’s no secret that Sunderland are desperate for additions at both right-back and left-back, and the fact that they’re willing to spend at least £1 million on Key suggests quite a few things.

For one, Key must have come up as a player of interest in their new data-driven methods of bringing in players, and the fact the Black Cats have made multiple bids suggests that he’s a top target.

And if they’re going to spend seven figures on the youngster, then that could mean Luke O’Nien is being pushed into a midfield position after spending the last few years at the Stadium of Light in defence – it would make no sense to spend so much on Key and have him battle with O’Nien for a spot in the team when you can play both.

If Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has the money to splash then I see no reason as to why Key wouldn’t be a good acquisition for Sunderland.

Jacob Potter

I really like the sound of this deal from a Sunderland perspective.

Key has experience of playing regularly in senior football whilst with Exeter City, and at the age of 21, he’s still got plenty of room to further his development moving forwards.

Sunderland need another right-back as well, as Dion Sanderson played their last season, and hasn’t returned for a second season at the Stadium of Light.

Luke O’Nien has been trusted in that position previously though, and if Key was to arrive, then that would mean that he can return to his natural midfield role.

It’s a move that would surely work for all parties involved, especially if the finances for Exeter are matched with their valuation.

Mentioned in this article
View publisher imprint