Big Vic Has Proved His Point - He Is Freely Unplayable
As the media continue to hail the power of Victor Anichebe, whose introduction into the Sunderland first team coincided with a run of victories for the side who had made the worst ever start to a Premier League season, the striker has hailed the free agent market as a great resource for David Moyes to exploit.
In quotes in yesterday's Northern Echo, the Nigerian said:
Come January, if we could get a couple of faces in, that would be a big help. They don’t have to be big-money signings – there are a lot of people out there who could make an impact.
I was free, and so was Steven (Pienaar). There are a lot of free people out there who are itching to prove a point, and they’re the type of people who I think could really help change things. I came in on a free, wanting to prove a point, and I’ve done well since I came here.
And if Anichebe's impact on Wearside has been instant, Saturday's victory against Watford proved that opposition teams have clicked on to the 28-year-old's abilities in turning Sunderland from a beatable side into a bouncing one. Because make no mistake, the Hornets sure targeted Big Vic at the weekend - a fact not lost on the player himself as he said to Sky Sports after the 1-0 victory:
I was saying to some of my friends, and to other people, it's becoming a lot more difficult.
Now teams are trying to stop our left-hand side of attack. Teams are really ready for us, they are a lot more aggressive with me, they are a lot more aggressive on our side.
Watford proved his point neatly but their twin-tactics of fouling Anichebe, and going to ground when beaten by him, only served to spur the striker on as he proved again that a controlled aggression is the key to his success. Sadly Saturday's referee, Bobby Madley, was oblivious to Walter Mazzarri's spoiling tactics, but in the end - the result negated the Hornets' blatant gamesmanship.
One thing is certain, as the Swansea defeat proved - keeping Victor Anichebe fit and in the side appears to be the best way of securing points. When Vic is fired up, he's simply unplayable.
And So The Free Agent Links Have Started
No sooner had Victor Anichebe uttered those words than the gossip sites began scouring the free agent lists for suitable Sunderland links. And, for those of you who have looked - there isn't many delicious names on such menus; but admittedly a couple of morsels do stand-out.
One of them is defender, Martin Caceres. The former Juventus man was released by the Italian giants in the summer, and has been without a club since - most probably while would-be suitors watched to see if he would make a full recovery from recent knee surgery.
Indeed, Caceres was linked with a variety of Premier League clubs in the summer, with Sunderland joining a list that included Chelsea, Liverpool and Southampton. And with the mid-season transfer window about ready to open, the centre-back has already been suggested as a target for Inter Milan and a host of South American clubs, and - you've guessed it - Sunderland.
Italian websites had reported the Sunderland link in the past couple of days. But, in truth it appears the origin of this claptrap was the kingpin of claptrap - Hitc.com. You have been warned - with Lamine Kone presumed to be cashed in during January, and Sunderland pleading poverty, a host of cheap or free centre-halves will be said to be interesting David Moyes in the coming weeks.
He could do worse than Caceres however, who likely has a few good years left in him and a point to prove yet.