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.
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.
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.
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.
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.