Sunderland boss says Victor Anichebe was always on his radar, even if he had signed a Â£20m striker
Sunderland failed to land a big-money centre-forward in the summer but in free agent Victor Anichebe they have struck gold.
And delighted David Moyes says while Anichebe may not be a £20million striker, he has certainly played like one in the last two games.
Anichebe has struck up a stunning partnership with Jermain Defoe in recent weeks, with the pair scoring five goals and providing assists for each other in the wins over Bournemouth and Hull City.
The presence of Anichebe has helped earn Sunderland six points and propel the Black Cats to within three points of safety.
That seemed an unlikely scenario after going 10 games without a Premier League win.
But Anichebe’s power, strength and presence up front has added a new dimension to Sunderland’s attack and all-round game, with the powerful 28-year-old holding the ball up and bringing others into play.
He has never been prolific but Anichebe has also developed a keen eye for goal.
“Victor would like to be seen as someone who is a really important player for the team and he has been for us,” said Moyes.
“He is not a £20million centre forward but his performances in the last two games would say he is a £20million centre forward.
“Can he maintain it to show that?
“What he needed to add to his game was goals and he has been scoring for us and been involved in most of the goals we have scored.
“I am really pleased for Victor, he needs people round him to love him, that is his style and if the Sunderland supporters do that then fantastic.
“It is not a £20million striker we brought in here.
“We would have liked one! If we had, then I still would have brought in Victor, he was always on my radar.
“I always had him in the back of my mind that he would be a great extra striker for us, there would be games when we need him.
“For us to bring in a centre forward for nothing, he has arguably won us six points and would you take somebody for that? Definitely.
“I am not saying he has done it all on his own but he has certainly played a large part.
“He is someone no other club wanted to take but him and Jermain have done very well.”
Anichebe has given Sunderland another dimension to their play and Moyes is keen to see his players continue to get balls and bodies into the box.
“We have now given ourselves a starting point, a chance to cross the ball more,” added Moyes ahead of today’s trip to Anfield.
“Trying to get more players into the box is one of the things we are working on and we have done that recently.
“Paddy McNair probably ran the biggest distance out of any player and was an extra player into the box. We will miss him for that.”