Since last week’s Scout and About feature, Sunderland have delivered two more thoroughly abject performances and bagged themselves another couple of 2-0 defeats for their troubles.
Some particularly short-sighted people will argue that the club have nothing to play for and are simply fulfilling their fixture obligations before they jet off on well deserved luxury holidays next week. In fact, the complete opposite is true.
I mentioned last week about the need to finish the season with a bit of momentum to take into next season, and from the perspective of the club and morale surrounding it, that is still the case. For the players who clearly don’t want to be here however, you’d expect them to be doing their best to salvage their eviscerated reputations in an effort to get a move away from the place they’ve stole a living for the past year.
With the exception of Jordan Pickford, Jermain Defoe and Didier Ndong, it’s hard to make a case for any other Sunderland players coming away from this season with their reputations enhanced, or indeed any credit at all. Of the above-mentioned three, only Ndong is likely to be here when the new season kicks off.
I can’t state enough how important it is to be bringing in players that see it as a step up to play for Sunderland – something that hasn’t been a feature of our transfer policy over the past few years. The latest player under the microscope who fits that bill is Peterborough winger Marcus Maddison.
Over the past three seasons since his move to the Football League, Marcus Maddison has made a name for himself as one of the most exciting and effective players in League One. Upon signing him in 2014, then-manager Darren Ferguson citing his balance, skill and pace – something seldom seen on Wearside – as his defining attributes.
He has consistently performed for Posh since his arrival. In League One, he has made 109 appearances, scoring 27 goals and providing 36 assists. This season alone has yielded 17 of those assists, with Maddison’s intelligent movement and vision unlocking League One defences at will.
After three seasons performing at this level in the country’s third tier, the next step is surely the Championship. Maddison seems to have matured markedly as a footballer at London Road after a stuttering start to his professional career. He was released from Newcastle without a sniff of the first team, with then-reserve team boss Willie Donachie remarking about how much the undoubtedly talented youngster had to learn. A move north to St. Johnstone followed, and again Maddison was moved on without kicking a ball in the first team. Finding his grounding in non-league football with Gateshead was the catalyst to kickstarting his career.
Transfer policy at Peterborough is one of the most stringent in England with regards to both incomings and outgoings, and Maddison – as a Posh player with 12 months left on his contract – has been transfer listed by the club and will be sold this summer if he does not agree a new deal. Current Posh boss Grant McCann recently dubbed him the best player in League One on his day, and it hasn’t gone unnoticed with Aston Villa reportedly expressing an interest.
Maddison is a relatively local lad hailing from Durham, and would surely be interested in a move if Sunderland were to come calling. Peterborough chairman Darragh MacAnthony also never stands in the way of one of his players moving on to bigger things, but is notorious in ensuring the club are handsomely remunerated for their prized assets. Even with 12 months left on his contract, Posh would value Maddison at around £3m.
Given the current climate at the top end of the Championship, that is surely a fee worth taking a punt on for a player with the pace and consistency of Maddison. It’s also worth noting that he has a genuine wand of a left foot, and his set-piece delivery is excellent.
Has anyone got MacAnthony’s number to pass on to Davie Moyes?