Is Gus Right To Defend His January Transfers?

Laurence Griffiths

This may be carnage, but to be fair it was Poyet who opened this can of worms, not us!

Gus Poyet has issued a defence of his January business, insisting they are far better players than they have shown so far. Fair enough, I'd be more worried if he wasn't backing his judgement I think.

But, just for kicks, let's have a closer look.

Nacho Scocco

Gus says:

Nacho's situation is clear. He is still in the time of adapting to the physicality of the English game. He is a player coming here with plenty of credentials and quality.

He has taken a little longer than I would like to adapt, but there is no doubt about his quality. A player can take six months, a year, but there are always players who take longer to adapt. I still believe he can be a big part in the future here.

We say: Having been heavily linked with him last summer, Scocco was a player we watched a lot of just out of interest really. We fired up the streams and had a little peek. I think Poyet is right in what he says about Scocco's quality. He definitely has it and you don't just forget how to play football.

Obviously, the problem with him is that he arrived unfit and nowhere near a position to adapt to either the demands of the Premier League or Sunderland's specific situation. He never had a chance. Given we were looking up towards midtable when Scocco arrived, I suspect a little complacency kicked in and he was seen as one we could carry until the summer.

He is one I'd like to see us persist with next season, but this season looks a total write-off. A good player doesn't necessarily make for a good signing.

Santiago Vergini

Gus says:

Santiago Vergini is better than what people think. He has been in a team which is defending more than we should be. We have never had a partnership for him. He did OK with John O'Shea for a time, then he was in a three, then he played with Wes Brown.

We say: Fair enough Gus, I'm happy to concede the point that Vergini hasn't been afforded a smooth transition into English football. But that is on you, surely? You are picking the system and it's your team that is 'defending more than it should be'.

Is he better than he has shown so far? I think he must be. Again, he's a player I'd like to see persisted with but considering he is only on loan you have to wonder if that is in the club's hands. I'm loath to write off these kind of players too quickly. Just look at what a season in the Championship did for Fabrizio Coloccini at Newcastle.

Again, though, he hasn't really contributed in the now, has he, and that makes him an odd signing for the situation we faced.

Liam Bridcutt

Gus says:

I think for Liam it has been easy. It has been simple for him to come in. He will do exactly what I need at different times in the game.

We say: I agree here. Whilst Bridcutt didn't arrive with any kind of glamour or profile, I think in the long run he'll turn out to be a very important player. He will be a veritable Rolls Royce of a player in the Championship and I'd be amazed if he didn't have the captain's armband sooner rather than later.

He isn't ever really going to be an impact player and I'm not sure we could have ever expected him to be, but once the system and the side is a settled archetypal Poyet one, I think we'll see a very different Bridcutt and one who we are grateful to have.

Generally

Gus Says:

There is greater responsibility on the players who have been here longer than to base it on the new players alone.

We say: Amen to this! All the analysis of the January signings in the world, and I don't think we did good business by any stretch of the imagination, isn't going to change the fact that they were brought into a mentally weak bunch who have never given any kind of impression that they could give two hoots about Sunderland AFC. The club has not been an easy environment to introduce new players into.

Time to fix this sorry mess once and for all.

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