Ali Al-Hamadi: Sunderland linked with Wimbledon striker
Written by Adam Foster on 1st November 2023
Sunderland fans have been assured that a potential striker target could solve their centre-forward struggles.
Wimbledon striker Ali Al-Hamadi has been linked with a January move to Wearside – according to the Sunderland Echo.
The 21-year-old joined the Dons in January, but 14 goals in 33 appearances have alerted clubs in the Championship and League One of his presence.
Sunderland’s striker issues have been well-documented in recent months. A striker is still yet to score this season in the Championship, with the majority of the Black Cats goals coming from winger Jack Clarke.
Spark Sunderland spoke exclusively to ‘Dons Vlogs’, a fan page that covers Wimbledon games – as well as ‘Wombles Downunder’, an Australian newsletter that has been covering Wimbledon for 38 years.
You can find both pages on X, formerly known as Twitter: @DonsVlogs & @WDownUnder.
Ronnie and Jack, who run Dons Vlogs, said: “Ali was an unknown in the transfer window to fans after a transfer to Wycombe Wanderers. He was originally deployed as a wide man, which wasn’t really working.
“When he was put up front and bagged his first goal against Hartlepool, he began scoring on a more consistent basis. His tenacity and sheer love for the game soon made him a fan favourite.”
Wombles Downunder echoed this sentiment. They said: “Ali has made a terrific impact at Wimbledon since joining from Wycombe Wanderers in the last January window. Such was his popularity that he was used by the club as their poster player for marketing campaigns.”
When asked about his biggest strengths, Ronnie and Jack said his pace, strength, eye for goal and relentless work rate make him a nightmare for defenders.
Sunderland are known for having the youngest squad in the Championship by some distance, with an average age of 22.4 years.
And Wombles Downunder believes that Al-Hamadi would have no problem settling into the Sunderland team.
“Ali is only 21, has a good personality, I reckon he would fit in with the young Sunderland squad (if it came to that).”
Ronnie and Jack agree, saying: “Sunderland, as we have observed, have many talented young players with quality, so we couldn’t imagine Ali slotting into a team like Sunderland would be an issue.”
With being a young player in League Two, many of the arguments from fans will be whether or not Al-Hamadi will be able to make the step up. But Dons Vlogs does not think it would be a problem.
“Ali is a player with limitless potential, he is only at the start of a flourishing career. He is adored by the Wimbledon faithful and will become better with more game time. I have no doubt he can make the step up, but ultimately, I feel the time has to be right for the player.”
However, Wombles Downunder is a little more sceptical.
“Jumping two levels to the Championship might be an issue. He has potential, no doubt good coaching and mentoring would likely improve him further, but whether he would make an immediate impact in the Championship is not that clear cut. But he has all the ingredients to do well.”
The Iraqi international is a huge player for Wimbledon and is arguably the first name on the team sheet every week.
When asked whether or not they would sell in January if an offer came in, Dons Vlogs said: “I would offer him a lucrative contract to stay with the club for a longer period. He is our talisman and a great guy.
“On a realistic level, it is a question for the club and the player. If the club’s valuation was met and the player wanted the move, then there is not a lot the fans could do about it.”
Wombles Downunder also noted that Wycombe Wanderers, the club that Wimbledon signed him from, also have a sell-on fee, and that any offer would need that factored into it.
They added: “We are not a wealthy club and he is a saleable asset. Every player has his price, but it will be a contentious decision on him either way come January.”
Ronnie and Jack also said that his loss would be massive for the club, as there are no current strikers that could take his place in the first-team.
“Every time he steps on the pitch, he has an aura where the fans believe we can win any game. Even during periods when he was not scoring at the beginning of this season, every fan was behind Ali, willing him to score.”
Wombles Downunder also noted how popular he is with the Wimbledon faithful, and that he is their best scoring outlet.
It is a testament to how much the 21-year-old is liked by the Dons fans, that they have stuck with him through a little bit of a rough patch this season.
Wombles Downunder concluded by saying he is one of the best pieces of business that the club has done in recent years.
Ronnie and Jack said: “Ali departing the club would leave a massive void, with the fans and on the pitch”.
Whether he ends up at the Stadium of Light remains to be seen.