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Two 'proven' strikers were offered to Moyes this season; would either have kept Sunderland up?

Dimitar Berbatov has revealed he had conversations with David Moyes about joining his side this season. So too did Emmanuel Adebayor. Despite Jermain Defoe's 14 goals, the Black Cats have struggled to find the back of the net with regularity, would either of them have been able to weigh in with the necessary additional firepower to keep Sunderland up?

Fulham v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images

Everyone said it would happen, and so it did. For at least two years assorted pundits, observers and supporters have warned that if Jermain Defoe stopped scoring - for whatever reason - Sunderland would be relegated.

And so it came to pass. Soon.

The England striker's last goal for the Black Cats came ten weeks - nine games - ago. And David Moyes' men have picked up a measly two points since then, scoring just twice.

England v Lithuania - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Fabio Borini may believe he possesses the innate ability to deputise for Defoe in times of need. The one time he was handed the baton to lead the line - in the FA Cup third round against Burnley - the Italian was pretty abject. Victor Anichebe is a man who could spearhead the Black Cats attack, but he's been injured more than he's been fit.

So if reports are to be believed, David Moyes has been offered two 'proven' goalscorers this season but didn't return their calls. Surely one of them would have been able to help Sunderland get to a grander total than just 26 goals in 32 games with a lowly 21 points returned.

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"It's that Dimitar again"
Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Admittedly past their best, could Emmanuel Adebayor or Dimitar Berbatov have offered sufficient additional firepower when needed to keep Sunderland in the Premier League?

Berbatov revealed he had been in touch with Sunderland at some point this season when he appeared on Sky Sports Goals on Sunday yesterday. The former Manchester United and Tottenham striker indicated David Moyes was one manager he had spoken to about a return to the Premier League, saying:

I want to play and to be honest, I had a conversation with a couple of managers even the Sunderland one. But in the end nothing happened.

The Bulgarian, now aged 36, also suggested he would have been keen to play for Sunderland. Berbatov has been linked with a host of English clubs since he was released by Greek side PAOK last summer including Newcastle, West Ham, Aston Villa and Salford City.

For a spell from 2006, Berbatov was one of the most prolific strikers in English football before heading across the Channel to Monaco in 2014. Admittedly, a 'lazy' tag attached itself to him at times because of his apparent efficiency in exerting himself on the pitch, but the man had class.

Currently without a club, concerns about Berbatov's fitness and work ethic in his later years appear to have put off would-be suitors who might have been prepared to give him a final shot before retirement.

It's possible that Berbatov was an option for Sunderland around the time the club signed Victor Anichebe. In the end, David Moyes opted for the former Everton striker he knew so well.

Likewise Emmanuel Adebayor who was linked with Sunderland last September. David Moyes revealed he had been offered the former Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham striker in August - around the time he landed Anichebe.

And whilst Victor Anichebe can be considered a successful signing, the injury record which has blighted his career has continued to limit his overall impact this season.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League
Jermain Defoe and Victor Anichebe celebrate during one of Sunderland's few bright spots this season - the victory over Hull City in November
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Getty Images

The Nigerian has played in 14 Premier League games scoring 3 goals and has proven to be an incredibly effective tactical option with 4 of Sunderland's 5 victories coming with him in the side. But with his appearances limited, the Black Cats have struggled to find a way to turn their other effective striker, Jermain Defoe's impressive return into points.

Defoe has scored in 6 games that Sunderland have gone on to lose - defensive and mental frailties ensuring David Moyes' men have ended up at the foot of the table.

Adebayor has an exceptional Premier League record, and is still 'only' 33-years-old. The Togolese striker has scored a career 97 goals in England's top tier in 242 appearances.

Tottenham Hotspur v Sunderland - Premier League
Something of a classic photograph. Emmanuel Adebayor salutes 'corporal' Tim Sherwood after scoring Spurs' second goal against Sunderland in April 2014
Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

After a disappointing spell at Crystal Palace ended in June 2016, the 6ft 3in striker headed for Turkey after being a free agent for 6 months where he has scored 5 goals in 5 appearances since January.

Adebayor has developed something of a mercenary tag as his career has begun to wind down and his wages wouldn't have come cheaply. But he was, and perhaps still is, built to play in the Premier League and may well have given this sterile, powerless Sunderland side a shot at staying up.

Scrap Joleon Lescott and one other's wages and we could have afforded him.

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