How Gus Poyet Could Bring Brighton Style to Sunderland

18/10/2013 15:58 BST | Updated 23/01/2014 23:58 GMT

Despite getting the Sunderland job, Gus Poyet still has a chance of taking Brighton to the Premier league.

Not in a literal sense, obviously (unless there are some drastic changes at both clubs), but in a more figurative, philosophical kind of way.

Under Poyet, The Seagulls became known for their attractive brand of attacking, possession-and-passing based football, and that's something he will - mid-to-long-term, anyway - be looking to replicate on Wearside.

He has already stated that first and foremost it will be a case of substance over style, but once the results are starting to improve and the players grow in confidence and he builds a relationship with them, then he'll be looking to merge function with flair and fashion.

That will likely mean introducing the 4-3-3 he employed at Brighton, with a lone striker and two wingers - one a more out-and-out winger, one slightly more industrious or likely to 'drift'. For the former, you could read Adam Johnson; the latter, Emanuele Giaccherini, who has shown he's at his best when able to move centrally from the flank.

The lone striker role should, and you'd imagine will, go to Steven Fletcher, once he's fully fit at least. Jozy Altidore has impressed with his workrate and hold-up play, but his all-round game isn't as good as Fletcher's, nor does he appear carry the same goal threat as the Scot.

In midfield, on-loan Ki Sung-Yueng would appear to be the most natural fit for this style of game. Having previously been at Swansea, it's a system he is used to and he's already shown glimpses of his passing ability (which is why it's a big shame he won't be available for Poyet's first game).

Lee Cattermole is back in the side and he adds some much needed steel, as well as being respected and viewed as a leader by his teammates. His passing is better than he gets credit for, and with a bit of work he could fit in well.

It's the third midfielder where there is a question mark. Seb Larsson has largely been anonymous when playing there, while having Craig Gardner could leave it somewhat short on guile. David Vaughan played his best football in a three-man midfield at Blackpool, but has looked little more than a Championship player for the majority of his time here.

One option could be to have Giaccherini as the most advanced of the trio, with a licence to get forward, and using one of the untried but promising wingers David Moberg Karlsson or Charis Mavrias on the wing, or perhaps Larsson in a wide position. All three could also make a claim for starting ahead of Johnson to be fair, with the Englishman mostly frustrating fans since his £10m arrival.

At the back, Ondrej Celustka and Jack Colback have both shown a willingness to get forward from full back, without neglecting their defensive duties.Valentin Roberge, meanwhile, is perhaps the one centre half we have who possesses both pace and the ability to pass the ball out from the back, and as he continues to get sued to the physicality of the Premier League could prove a key cog in Poyet's vision of Sunderland.

His partner is less obvious. John O'Shea is the captain of the side, experienced and organises the defence well. However, he's slower than a snail in treacle, and his idea of a short pass from the back is a ball that just about clears the halfway line. Poyet's unlikely to drop him, at least not anytime soon, but it'll be interesting to see if he can keep his place as the Uruguayan looks to progress. That said, while Modibo Diakite or Wes Brown may be a better fit, neither of them are ever actually, er, fit.

It'll obviously take time, but the blocks are in place for Poyet to build the side to his specifications, with a couple of additions in January to help things along. The hardest part is going to be the start, and actually getting the results in the first place. If he can do that, the rest will hopefully (cursed blind optimism strikes again) follow.