Alex Neil offers reasons for sealing Sunderland defensive signing | OneFootball

Alex Neil offers reasons for sealing Sunderland defensive signing

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Football League World

Sunderland boss Alex Neil has explained why he moved to sign Daniel Ballard on a permanent deal from Arsenal.

Ballard is a good defender and one that has impressed during other loan spells for the likes of Blackpool and Millwall, and he now has a chance at Sunderland to really kickstart his career with a new permanent team where he is likely to play regularly.

Certainly, that is the impression you get when you read what Neil has to say, with the Scottish manager explaining that he expects Ballard to be pushing for a start.

Quoted by the official Sunderland website, Neil said:

“First and foremost, Daniel will add competition,” said Neil.

“Callum’s loan deal ended in May and Arby left the club, so we wanted to add in that area and Daniel fits into our structure of being a young, up and coming player who has Championship experience.

“He fits the bill and he also knows what it takes to win, sampling success with Blackpool in the Play-Offs before having a year under his belt [in the second tier] with Millwall last season.”

Neil then continued, by saying that bringing in young British talent was going to be a priority and that the battle to get such players has intensified because of recent regulation changes, meaning Sunderland’s project clearly had an impact in getting him in:

“The new regulations make it extremely difficult to bring in players from the continent, so any young British talent is at a premium and naturally, club scouting networks are all aware of the same types of players.

“It then comes down to what your project looks like and what the club itself can provide – the fan base, our stadium, all of that is a massive selling point for us and it helps when we’re trying to attract players.

“He will bring some different qualities to our backline – he is mobile for a big lad and he is aggressive, so I’m really looking forward to working with him.

“We are really pleased to get this deal over the line.”

The Verdict

Ballard is going to be an exciting signing for Sunderland if all goes to plan.

He is a good player with lots of potential and he has shown that he can compete at this level.

Sunderland is the biggest club he’ll have played for regularly, having not featured much at Arsenal, and he’ll be excited to get playing at the Stadium of Light.

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