Sunderland legend delivers verdict on January business and why Grant Leadbitter will make immediate impact
With the transfer window now shut, Sunderland’s business will be under scrutiny but it won’t be until the season ends that we will know whether it has worked or not.
Two strikers departed, Jerome Sinclair and Josh Maja and in Sinclair’s case it wasn’t too much of a surprise as we didn’t see a great deal of him.
He started off well enough, coming off the bench against Charlton on the opening day and being a big part of a thrilling comeback to get the season off to a flyer.
Unfortunately he suffered an injury against Charlton and other injuries plagued him on Wearside meaning he rarely put a run of games together and when you are in and out of the team - and the treatment room - you won’t be seen at your best.
Josh Maja’s departure stirred up a lot more controversy and debate as nobody wanted to lose a young player with potential, especially as he was the club’s leading scorer.
So, for the second January in succession, Sunderland somehow found a way to lose their top marksman, Maja this year and Lewis Grabban last year and we will just have to wait and see if history repeats itself because Grabban’s goals certainly were not replaced in the second half of last season.
Why do young players - right at the start of their careers - feel the need to move on so quickly, especially as could well happen Maja doesn’t get much game time or is stuck on the bench at Bordeaux when he could be a major player and remembered for years on Wearside if Sunderland’s season ends well.
Will Grigg is the man Jack Ross has identified to replace Maja and he knows this division, scores goals in this division and has won promotion from this division so hopefully he can do all those things again only now in a Sunderland shirt.
Dunne, Sterling and Morgan are young players with potential and will be warmly welcomed but it is the Grant Leadbitter signing that captures the imagination and I can’t see any down side to this deal.
He is a Sunderland fan and that means a lot, he is used to playing at a higher level and being local knows the club and the area inside out, so shouldn’t need anytime at all to settle.
With only three months of the season left, it is a massive advantage settling straight in and not needing time to get your bearings, so by not having that problem, I expect Grant Leadbitter of all the newcomers to make an immediate impact.
Hopefully all of the new players signed in this window will be successful but short term there is only one measure if January is to be judged a success and that is by playing Championship football next season.