The latest chapter in the fine recent history of SAFC is trying to persuade Jack Rodwell to leave.
It is well known that the club have offered to rip up his contract and let the £10m signing leave for free. It is also well known though that Sunderland cannot afford to pay up the remainder of his contract, so for Rodwell to leave he will have to waive the remaining wages for the final 18 months of his contract. So how did it come to this?
At the time of his signing, Rodwell was seen as a bit of a coup for Sunderland. An England international, playing for Manchester City, was surely the big name, statement of intent signing that we were looking for.
It all started OK – he scored on for his debut against Manchester United – but a series of anonymous performances followed, as Rodwell failed to impose himself in central midfield.
He would consistently put in the sort of performances where nothing was really his fault, but the positive impact on games was minimal.
The trend followed, and coupled with injuries Rodwell’s Sunderland career never really took of; it took until February 2017 for us to win a league game that he had started. Grim reading.
To cap it all off, there was no relegation wage drop clause in his contract, which with the club’s current financial plight is an absolute nightmare.
It’s easy to sit now and blame whoever offered Rodwell the contract, but don’t forget that at the time it was supposed to be a signing of intent, and Sunderland did have competition from other clubs.
He’s probably not going to walk away without a payment, so he will continue to be a very expensive mistake for another 18 months. Imagine a League One player on upwards of £60,000 a week!
While we are pretty desperate to get Rodwell out the door, we are even more desperate to get a few new players through it.
Sunderland currently do not have the firepower to get out of trouble. Josh Maja and Joel Asoro have been a breath of fresh air, but they are not ready to lead the line in a relegation battle.
I spoke before Christmas about the pair of them getting more game time, but that was when we had other strikers to play with them and take away some of the pressure.
This isn’t the environment for them to develop, and Maja in particular is having thankless afternoons playing up front alone, against seasoned Championship defenders.
Coleman wants two strikers and it is imperative that he gets them.
The goalkeeping debacle is something else that, in my opinion, needs addressing. We simply have to sign a goalkeeper as Robbin Ruiter and Jason Steele have already cost us numerous points this season and we just cannot afford to throw away any more.
With Hull and Birmingham the next two games, we may have an indication of where our future lies by the end of January.