Wolves defender targeted by Sunderland linked again with Sheffield United - but who is Dion Sanderson?

Sheffield United have again been linked with young defender Dion Sanderson, who impressed on loan a Sunderland last season from Wolverhampton Wanderers.

By Steve Jones and Danny Hall
Monday, 14th June 2021, 11:36 am

The 21-year-old spent last season at the Stadium of Light and is thought to have impressed United’s scouts with his displays in League One.

He was named the Black Cats’ young player of the year but has reportedly been given the green light to find a new club, with Sunderland keen on bringing him back.

Here’s everything you need to know about the starlet...

Sign up to our Sheffield United newsletter

Dion Sanderson of Sunderland in action during the Sky Bet League One match between Northampton Town and Sunderland. Pete Norton/Getty

Who is he and what position does he play?

Sanderson is a tall centre-half who is comfortable on the ball and can bring it out of defence – something that has been a feature of United’s approach in recent seasons with Chris Basham and Jack O’Connell in particular.

He also helped Wolves’ under-23s win the Premier League 2 Division 2 title in the 2018/19 season and has made one competitive appearance at Molineux, a League Cup defeat against Aston Villa in 2019.

He has previously played at right back – including during a 10-game loan spell at Cardiff City in the Sky Bet Championship – but Sunderland boss Lee Johnson insisted centre-half is his position.

What’s his contact situation?

Sanderson’s current contract expires next summer – he signed an extension at the beginning of this season - so a transfer fee would almost certainly be involved as Wolves’ owners Fosun seek a return on a player who has been with his hometown club since the age of eight. It’s reported that a fee of £2m would secure his services.

Who else is interested?

Who isn’t, rather? Johnson has already expressed his interested in a permanent move while several other Premier League and Championship clubs are also reportedly keen, including Brighton, Crystal Palace, Bristol City and Huddersfield.

United’s neighbours Sheffield Wednesday have also been linked with him, as have Cardiff City.

What has the player himself said?

Unsurprisingly, he hasn’t given much away.

Last season, he told Sunderland Echo: "For the time being I'm just enjoying my football really - taking it game by game, winning and enjoying it.

"I haven't really thought much of it, it's just enjoying my football."