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Can We Tell The Difference Between Bad Signings & Unattractive Ones?

People of Sunderland - I have a challenge for you.

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

I'll admit, in the context of Saturday's capitulation, it seems that attempting to validate the quality of our players is a largely difficult task. But that was just one game - the four before it have been much better, and have involved real signs of improvement all over the pitch.

This brings me to the purpose of this article - can you accurately distinguish between signings which Moyes made that are genuinely bad, and ones which simply lacked the sensationalism of other reputable, 'big money' signings?

Indeed, a lack of cutting edge sensationalism in Sunderland's summer market ensured Moyes started his campaign with the lads firmly on the back foot - the odds were stacked against him from the moment he donned our scarf in front of the camera lens.

With limited time to improve on a depleted squad and with a hollow war chest to utilise, Moyes resorted to familiar faces and a bargain hunt. Consequently, the likes of McNair, Pienaar and Anichebe rapidly turned the public against him and the Scotsman was immediately accused of being too negative - allegedly undoing all the hard work Allardyce put into our squad.

Even record signing Ndong wasn't enough to stir up any optimism, likely due to the addition of another defensive midfielder being a dull prospect.

But it's very easy to confuse a bad player with one who is portrayed as bad by the context in which they were signed. Anichebe is the perfect example of this.

Big Vic's potential quality was limited in the eyes of all Sunderland fans before he'd even had a kick. Being signed on a bosman outside the transfer window due to a desperate attempt to expand the squad depth can only give the impression that he's awful - and this is therefore a 'negative' signing.

This is precisely how we come to confuse bad signings with unattractive ones.

In an alternate universe, Anichebe could've been an underperforming frontman at Tottenham who showed promise for half a season two years ago - and if we were persuaded into accepting a £12m offer for him, we'd be calling him quality and lapping up all the sensation offered by both club and printed press.

Whilst Vic is probably the most notable example, it isn't just him who has been a victim of this fallacy. Pienaar was excellent against Leicester, Billy Jones came back into his own with support from Watmore, and Denayer too has had some good games.

The bottom line here, essentially, is that we shouldn't be too quick to judge, and any judgements made should be reserved until a new signing is a well established member of the first team.

Saturday was a bad performance, but for now it's only one of it's kind - lets stay behind the lads and be proud of what we have!

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