Over the past few weeks, Wolves target man Steven Fletcher has been strongly linked with a £10,000,000 move to Sunderland.
This has, in general, been met with howls of derision from the Black Cats’ faithful; he’s not a “next level” player, we shouldn’t be looking at relegated teams’ cast offs and £10,000,000 is far too much.
First of all, I doubt the fee will be as much as the figure quoted in the bastion of truth that is the Daily Mail. Secondly, it’s not our money. Thirdly, Fletcher is just the type of player Sunderland need.
Last season, Sunderland’s front pairing of Nicolas Bendtner and Stephane Sessengnon scored 14 goals between them, just two more than Fletcher scored for a Wolves side that finished bottom of the league. Sessengnon, although a wonderful footballer, is not a striker.
Although much-maligned, I actually quite like Bendtner. Well, “like” is perhaps not the right word for a man who has a notoriously high opinion of himself and found himself in a spot of bother with the law last year. I think he’s a very good footballer; he’s just not right for Sunderland. I must have counted at least 30 tantalising crosses whipped in from Swedish David Beckham-a-like Seb Larsson and the precocious James McLean.
The problem was that Bendtner was never there. The Dane possesses a wonderful touch and is very good at linking the play, but he’s usually too deep. We needed a target man to get on the end of crossers. It seemed that Martin O’Neill knew this, as he attempted to sign Bolton stalwart and serial fouler Kevin Davies in the January transfer window. O’Neill is known for his liking of big target men, and Fletcher fits the bill. If he’s not interested, there’s always Emile Heskey…