By now you’ll have heard all about Lewis Grabban and the ‘recall clause’ that was supposedly inserted in to the striker’s loan deal when he signed for us from Bournemouth in July of this year.
It has caused a whole load of panic amongst Sunderland supporters in recent days, particularly as the former Norwich striker has put away goals on a frequent basis this season despite the fact that we haven’t actually been very good.
It has been so notable, in fact, that Sunderland manager Chris Coleman was even questioned about it today in his weekly meeting with the press, stating that the rumours were indeed true, but that Grabban was ‘happy’ at Sunderland and that they’ve heard absolutely nothing from Bournemouth to suggest that they plan on recalling Grabban in order to sell him to another club whilst his stock is high.
With so few other options in attack, the Bournemouth loanee has became something of a talisman for Sunderland and, in all honesty, it’s difficult to foresee how we’d cope in front of goal in his absence.
It’s important here to try and work out where this news may have come from though, especially when speculation is rife that this is actually a real thing that Bournemouth might go ahead and action with once the transfer window opens.
You have to admit, with January around the corner it is rather suspicious that this seems to have emerged right now, at a stage when Sunderland really need Grabban more than ever and when he’s receiving constant praise for his success in front of goal in a struggling side.
The original story which broke regarding Sunderland’s loan of Grabban in the summer - written as an ‘Exclusive’ - was written by TEAMtalk, a sports website that works in partnership with Skysports and Fox Sports Asia.
Sunderland did in fact announce the signing of Grabban the day after TEAMtalk’s story appeared online on the 25th of July. Would it be fair to assume that the unnamed writer, then, has some relationship with the agency that looks after the player - Anthony Finnigan’s ‘Players Lounge ltd’, or maybe even the player himself?
The story which emerged on Tuesday regarding the potential of Grabban leaving Sunderland in January first appeared - again - on TeamTALK, written as an exclusive, claiming that a ‘host of clubs’ had contact Bournemouth to enquire about the player’s availability once the upcoming transfer window opens.
In fact, the article named Wolves and Fulham as two of the clubs ‘ready to make moves’ for the player.
Could it simply be, then, that this is nothing more than a player’s agent looking to stir up interest in their client ahead of a profitable transfer window whilst his stock is indeed high, and that we shouldn’t worry too much about anything happening imminently? I’d suggest so.
It may even be a ploy to try and tempt and pressure Sunderland into signing the player on a permanent basis - who knows.
This is pure speculation on my part, of course, but I’m trying not to worry too much about the prospect of losing one of our best players at a time when we really can’t afford to lose them. It’s common for agents to work with the press around transfer season as it benefits them immensely if interest in their clients occurs. It’s why you see so many players linked to Sunderland that we’ve never even shown an interest in - because, with their names in the press, the availability of certain players becomes more notable as the transfer window wears on.
Whilst there may well be interest in Grabban from other clubs, for the clause in his contract to be exercised it would take action from his parent club, Bournemouth, to carry it out. Whether or not they’d be prepared to step over Sunderland in order to make a quick buck on a player that is of very little use or value to them is anyone’s guess.
Regardless of whether or not there was any real interest to sell from his parent club before this, his agent may have stirred enough to invite the interest. Let’s watch this space.