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ROKER RAMBLE: Transfer Fees Not Always Indicative Of True Value

Sometimes, the fee paid to bring in a new signing doesn't always represent the quality of player that you're receiving.

After the low-fee signing of Jan Kirchhoff for seven-hundred thousand pounds - and the expected loan deal of Dame N'Doye - both following on from a summer transfer net-spend of around twenty million pounds, questions have circulated about the perceived penny-pinching nature of the club's recent transfer activity.

Although high fees were spent on bolstering our attack last summer - with Fabio Borini and Jeremain Lens both costing eight-figure sums - the money spent on defenders was just a fraction of that.

After a brief settling in period Younes Kaboul has looked like a quality acquisition, particularly since Sam Allardyce joined the club. The budget-buy tactics employed in purchasing Kaboul certainly highlights that low fees don't necessarily mean you get below-par players.

We've seen the other side of things, however, with the signing of Adam Matthews - despite coming from Celtic with glowing references from their fans, he's struggled to get near the first team since joining last summer. Although two million pounds isn't a small amount of money by any stretch, it's a relatively small fee in footballing terms.

Just because players command smaller fees than the perceived mega-stars that we all wish the club were splashing out on, they shouldn't be labelled as poor acquisitions. Let me make it clear - I would love nothing more than for the club to spend big money on proven quality, in order to allow us to compete at the right end of the Premier League. Regardless, it's unfair to label Jan Kirchhoff and Dame N'Doye poor signings before we have even seen them play. It's irrational.

The mindset of a Sunderland fan is fueled by recent regimes and their failings, but, if sensible scouting and a strong knowledge of the Premier League are applied prior to concluding these deals, then there is no reason why these players can't come to the football club and improve our squad.

My point is that transfer fees do not primarily represent the value of a footballer joining our side. In the past, through careful analytical revision of potential targets, Sam Allardyce has proven he has knack for making intelligent signings to match his footballing philosophy, or suit the cards he's been dealt.

Jan Kirchhoff hasn't been signed because he was part of the squad at one of the best clubs in the world. He was signed because Sam Allardyce will have studied each sector of the German's game and feel reasonably sure he will improve our squad. It's as simple as that.

Dame N'Doye will bring pace and power to a forward line that sorely needs it. It would appear that Big Sam has recognised the need for a forward that can create the space that Jermain Defoe needs to continue scoring goals for us. If the big Senegalese forward can bring an extra few goals himself whilst acting as a foil for his strike partner, then it's a win-win. At worst he's replacing Danny Graham as a squad player until the summer comes around.

Yes, there is an element of risk involved (as there is with every signing made by a football club), but be rest assured that plenty of thought has been taken ahead of bringing N'Doye and Kirchhoff to the club. It's important that we believe in Sam Allardyce and trust that, despite not spending a great deal, these players are going to improve us and aid us as we attempt to climb out of the relegation zone. Don't let past regimes cloud your judgement.

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