Sunderland's pursuit for a left wing-back could soon reach a conclusion, with either Luke Garbutt or Demetri Mitchell likely to be joining the club this summer.
The Black Cats have been searching for adequate competition for academy graduate Denver Hume since last summer - with Laurens De Bock ultimately failing to impress on loan last term, while Declan John failed to make a single appearance in the cut-short second half of the campaign.
But they have this summer identified two full-backs to consider bringing in.
Ex-Everton man Garbutt has been offered a deal by Sunderland, while Demetri Mitchell has been on trial with the club recently, where it is said he has impressed.
We take a look at the two players and consider what they will offer the Black Cats.
The 27-year-old is a free agent this summer having left Everton where he graduated from the Merseysider's youth academy.
He spent last season on loan at Ipswich and despite receiving a contract offer to move to the Stadium of Light, the Harrogate-born defender is believed to be weighing up his options, with a permanent move to Portman Road believed to be an option for him.
An attacking wing-back who can play higher up the field too, Garbutt impressed at Ipswich last term, making 30 appearances, netting six goals and creating three more.
A pacey, attack-minded wing-back, Garbutt had a 70% pass completion rate, but only 23% of his crosses were accurate. He averaged 1.5 dribbles per game, with 58% of those successful.
Meanwhile, defensively, he averaged an impressive 5.57 interceptions per game, 2.95 clearances and won 59.1% of his defensive duels, and won 43.9% of his aerial duels.
Much like Garbutt, and Hume for that matter, Mitchell is an attack-minded, pacey wing-back who graduated from the Manchester United academy.
Younger than Garbutt, Mitchell is 23 and is also a free agent after leaving the Red Devils this summer.
At one point Mitchell was very highly thought of at Old Trafford, with former manager Jose Mourinho a particular fan. The youngster won the Man Utd Reserve Player of the Year in 2017-18, the same season he went on loan to Hearts for the first of two half-season loan spells that saw him make 34 appearances for the Scots when still in the top flight.
On his release from Manchester United this summer, Manchester Evening News reporter Dominic Booth told Sunderland Live: "Mitchell suffered one or two key injuries and with players jumping ahead of him in the queue and little prospect of first-team football under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, it made sense to let him go.
"The Scottish league looked to be his level, so whether that means he can thrive in League One remains to be seen. Many Man United academy products like Mitchell tend to do well enough when they leave the club."
In comparing his stats to Garbutt's, Mitchell during both spells in the Scottish Premiership completed 70% of his passes and 40% of his crosses. He averaged 5.13 dribbles per game and 60% of those were successful. He managed just two goals, however, in comparison to Garbutt's six.
Defensively, he made on average 5.25 interceptions per game, 2.01 clearances and won 54.8% of his defensive duels and 42.2% of his aerial duels.
How do their stats compare to Denver Hume?
So we've compared the two to each other, with Mitchell slightly edging the attacking stats, while Garbutt slightly edges the defensive side.
But how do they each compare to Sunderland's current left wing-back Hume?
Looking solely at his stats from last season, attacking wise, he completed 66% of his passes, and 30.8% of his crosses. He also averaged 5.88 dribbles, of which 63.6% were successful.
Defensively, a part of his game Hume has admitted his needs to work on, he averages 3.74 interceptions per game and 1.23 clearances. He won 52.4% of his defensive duels and 32.4% of his aerial duels.
That puts his stats closer to those of Mitchell's in the Scottish Premiership.
So who is the better option?
That will depend on what Sunderland are looking for. Are they looking for a new first-choice wing-back to come in ahead of Hume? Or would they prefer back-up/competition?
One thing to note is Garbutt's considerable experience in comparison to Mitchell. In total, Garbutt has made 176 appearances in senior football, playing across all four tiers of English professional football, and even making five appearances in the Europa League.
Mitchell, in comparison, has made just 35 senior career appearances.
Garbutt also has that League One experience which could make him more suited to the league, although depending on your thoughts on the Scottish top flight, you might be inclined to believe Mitchell shining on loan at Hearts makes him an attractive proposition.
Mitchell's injuries are of concern. He suffered a knee injury in his first Hearts spell that was supposed to end his season. He ultimately recovered early to play the last two games of the campaign, before returning that summer for what was meant to be a full season in 2018-19.
However, he suffered a recurrence of the knee injury in February 2019 and it ended his loan as he was forced to go under the knife. He then spent all of last season trying to return to fitness but suffered a number of setbacks in those attempts which ultimately led to his release.
Mitchell is likely to be the cheaper of the pair in terms of wages, which could be important given the recent salary caps that were introduced.
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He is the most likely to accept that he is competition for Hume too, with Garbutt likely to expect to be regular first-choice wing-back.
Given the emergence and development of Hume, Phil Parkinson might see value in night stifling that by making him second-choice.
Of course, any place in the team needs to be earned and Hume's form was indifferent at times last season, potentially because of a lack of competition. It's likely no coincidence that his best Sunderland form came in the 2018-19 season when he was playing so well he keeping Costa Rica international Bryan Oviedo out of the side. Again, during Sunderland's great run in January, when the Black Cats were actively in the market for a new left wing-back, Hume shone under Parkinson and netted his first senior goal in the thrashing of promoted Wycombe Wanderers.
In conclusion, both would certainly fit the bill to finally end Sunderland's struggles to fill that second left full-back squad place. While Garbutt brings experience and something different to Hume with more of a goal threat and more solid defensive stats, Mitchell offers something more similar to what they know works from Hume, while he is likely to be hungry to succeed on Wearside, as was reportedly evidenced during his spell on trial to try and earn a deal.