Misfiring former Huddersfield man James Vaughan has left Sunderland, joining League One leaders Wigan Athletic on a permanent basis for an undisclosed fee.
Roker Report learned yesterday that the striker arrived in Greater Manchester in order to take part in a medical examination, and it appears that a deal has been reached between all parties that is mutually beneficial - even despite the fact Sunderland have reportedly received a fee that is less than what they initially paid when he joined in the summer from Bury.
It’s fair to say that Vaughan’s time at the club hasn’t been as successful as many had hoped, and the news today that the forward has departed won’t come as much of a shock to anyone on Wearside.
Signed for a sum believed to be around £500,000 in the summer, Vaughan just simply hasn’t produced the goods up front this season and, in dropping down a league, will no doubt look to improve his faltering fortunes following what has been a nightmare spell in the North East.
After bagging 24 goals for relegation-threatened Bury last season, Simon Grayson seemingly believed that Vaughan’s form would find its way into a Sunderland side in desperate need of a regular, dependable goalscorer - alas, that simply wasn’t the case.
A meagre two goals in 22 games simply hasn’t been a good enough return, and with Lewis Grabban ending his loan deal early in order to return to Bournemouth, Chris Coleman clearly feels that there is a need to bolster his attacking options in the final third - thus opting to allow Vaughan to leave in order to re-shuffle his pack ahead of what is sure to be a tumultuous run towards the end of the season.
Furthermore, with the club in as perilous a financial position as it currently is, getting Vaughan’s wages off the books will be important if we are to bring in replacements capable of improving our current position.
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The argument can be made that the club did little in terms of playing to the former Everton academy product’s strengths. Often utilised as a target-man, the 5’11” forward struggled to cope with physicality of many Championship defences, which ultimately led to much frustration.
You often get the feeling that Vaughan, like many other footballers, is a confidence player who thrives in an atmosphere with less expectation than the one found at Sunderland. It was hoped he could be the experienced hit-man we needed in order to help move the club forward, yet he really struggled to make his mark.
Fans won’t lament the sale of Vaughan, and if truth be told his time on Wearside won’t exactly be one fondly remembered in years to come; however, one thing that his brief stint at the club certainly does pour scrutiny on is the club’s continued attempts to unsuccessfully reshape a side that has struggled now for a number of years.
Vaughan might be our first sale of the window, but I wouldn’t expect it to be the last as Chris Coleman looks to revolutionise his struggling Sunderland side in an attempt to achieve survival from the drop into the third tier of English football for the first time in over thirty years.