Last Tuesday rumours surfaced in the media that former Black Cats striker Victor Anichebe was a target of fellow Championship strugglers - and this evening’s opponents - Bolton Wanderers on a free transfer having found himself available following his release by Chinese club Beijing Enterprises.
The 29-year-old is out of contract after a short stint in the far east following the expiration of his Sunderland deal last summer, but is now free to talk to other clubs having had his contract torn up by the Chinese Super League side last month.
And there's a compelling argument to suggest that the Lagos-born forward could cut the mustard for Coleman's Sunderland - a side seriously short on firepower. Given Ashley Fletcher's string of lacklustre performances since his loan move from Middlesborough in January, Anichebe is - in the eyes of many - a sensible target.
We took to social media to canvas opinion from our fellow Sunderland supporters as to whether they'd take the Nigerian international back on a short-term deal until the end of the current season - and the responses saw some pretty strong cases both for and against bringing "Big Vic" back to the Stadium of Light.
Niall Bromley of the Roker Rapport Podcast contends:
People saying no to this? Look at the position we are in, how can we be picky? Yes I would take him back in a heartbeat, I’ll even pay for his flight.
Danny Groves agreed:
To be honest, I don’t know why we haven’t just taken him. When he’s on the pitch he’s a handful. Asoro and Maja would benefit immensely!
Jimmy McCullough suggested that:
He was quality against Hull, when he played well last season so did we.
And Paul Wood thinks it's a no brainer:
Definitely... just remember the game at Bournemouth last season, he was immense. We need experience, we need a presence against some of these Championship centre half’s
Victor Victor Victor Victor Victor Victor Victor Anichibeeeeeeee!
Whilst Chris Coleman’s side are still lacking in depth and firepower, questions over Anichebe’s injury record, attitude and consistency remain - three factors which didn't go unnoticed by Sunderland fans.
Gerry Armstrong said:
Honestly no. Apart from Bournemouth away he didn’t contribute anywhere near enough.
Dav Man explained:
He’s strong capable and would definitely add more physical presence... but too injury prone. like last time we’d probably end up paying mostly for his treatment.
Chris Swinton added:
I’m voting no. Not that I have anything against him, but I want to see Joel Asoro and Josh Maja get the starts they’ve earned. Go on lads!
Finally, the last word goes to David Hindmarsh:
If we could guarantee his fitness I would take him, but he hasn’t played football in yonks. He won’t be match fit, we'll we have to rely our survival hopes on him staying fit and looked what happened last year.
Although the responses to the article on Twitter and Facebook seemed to polarise opinion somewhat, the poll we ran on Twitter was pretty conclusive.
Would you have Victor Anichebe back at #SAFC on a short-term deal?— Roker Report (@RokerReport) February 14, 2018
Personally, I'm all for a last ditch roll of the dice, Anichebe brings power, pace and some serious aggression. The big man is available and most likely getable. We need to secure our Championship status, beggars can't choosers - especially not in our perilous position.
Bear in mind the afore mentioned youngsters Ashley Fletcher, Joel Asoro and Josh Maja possess just six career league goals between them, and the addition of Anichebe on a short-term pay-as-you-play deal makes a lot of sense to me.
But, as John Ridley points out:
We probably couldn't afford the free transfer at the moment!