By Richard Parks
Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole would be a brilliant signing for Leeds United.
Forget the controversy, the yellow cards, the over-arching competitiveness that sometimes crosses the line into thuggery.
Cattermole might not be everyone’s cup of tea but he is a quality midfield anchorman who never gives less than his best, and his experience and nous in the central acres could be an excellent complement next season to the energy of Ronaldo Vieira and the class of Adam Forshaw.
Leeds have certainly been found wanting in that position this season, and Cattermole has a track record that demands respect, including 272 Premier League appearances.
No United player has anywhere near that level of experience in a top league, either in England or overseas.
The possibility of Cattermole leaving Sunderland after eight years increased massively in the wake of their relegation to League One following Saturday’s home defeat to Burton Albion.
Football Whispers claim the midfielder, 30, is the joint-most likely player to join Leeds this summer.
The football site, which gathers all transfer rumours across the globe and calculates the likelihood of them happening, rates it 3.1 out of 5 that Cattermole will join Leeds, with five the highest possible ranking and meaning it is a certainty.
He is joint-top in the rankings with QPR defender Nedum Onuoha (3.1) and ahead of Burnley striker Sam Vokes (2.9) and Aston Villa right-back Alan Hutton (2.7).
Can it happen? Will it happen?
It’s certainly possible, even though Cattermole has a contract at Sunderland that runs until 2021.
It is difficult to see such a high earner remaining, or being willing to play League One football next season.
Leeds are in the market for more domestic signings this summer after their failed recruitment of the last two windows, and Cattermole is precisely the type of player they need to lead a promotion charge.