Q: With deadline day approaching, it feels as though Sunderland may only strengthen their forward line further if they can get rid of Will Grigg or Marc McNulty. Obviously, both situations are very different - Grigg is on big wages, and we won’t let him go anywhere if they are a promotion rival so his options are limited, whilst McNulty is on loan, and we’d have to agree to cut short his stay so he can go to another club. Phil Parkinson has poured water on suggestions we’ll sign Liam Boyce, as doing so will only happen if we can move someone on. What would you do in his/the club’s situation? Would you be content if we went into the rest of the season with Wyke, Lafferty, Grigg and McNulty as our four centre forwards, or would you be disappointed if we failed to move one of them on and bring someone, like Boyce, in?
Tom Atkinson says...
I’d like to think that Parkinson is being coy and keeping his business private. We’ve probably been stung over the last couple of years by talking openly about our recruitment plans, so it’s a good move to keep things quiet.
The concern for me in this system we are using is that if Gooch or Maguire are injured, we automatically lose both a creative outlet and a goalscorer. Do we have someone capable of stepping up to the plate in their absence? I’m not too sure.
Watmore is full of running, but perhaps lacks the technical quality, Embleton is returning from a nasty hamstring injury and need to be carefully managed, and the only other real contender would be Benji Kimpioka, who reminds me a lot of Duncan. As such, I think we need another attacker in the mould of Gooch or Maguire.
Antoine Semenyo from Bristol has been touted as a possible option, and from the sound of it he would be a good option for the club. My only issue with his signing is that it would only be on a short term deal. On the other hand, if we signed a young prospect and gave him a chance to develop for the remainder of the season - alongside Embleton - then we’d have four players capable of stepping in for Gooch/Maguire and providing the skill set needed for that role.
In terms of the strike force we have at our disposal, at a push Grigg and McNulty could be asked to play as either a lone forward or in that Gooch/Maguire role - but really they’re both forwards that like to play on the shoulder rather than with their back to goal. Wyke and Lafferty fit the bill nicely for the role we have at present, but will either bag the goals we need to supplement Gooch and Maguire’s contributions? I’m not sure.
Ultimately, I don’t think we should worry about our striking options, but should invest in talent to play in the fluid forward role we have developed for this formation.
Chris Camm says...
I think it’s clear for all to see what we require from the transfer window this time around, and I think forwards-wise we should be alright, despite being far from perfect. The reason I say that all comes down to our recent form and the tactics we deployed during that run.
Our system takes advantage of a big striker to hold the ball up and Parkinson has made sure we now have two of them. The benefits of that are pretty straight forward. Cover in case of injury, you can rest them towards the end of games or when our schedule picks up plus Wyke has to stay at the top of his game knowing Lafferty is breathing down his neck.
That’s all well and good but what about Grigg and McNulty then? Personally I think we should keep McNulty. Despite his size he could still do a job as a front man in this system due to his tenacity and hold up play. But actually I think he is going to be really handy as cover for Chris Maguire in that inside forward role he plays. McNulty has experience playing right across a front three, so he can do that, plus from there we can take advantage of his runs in behind and feed either from wide areas, straight down the middle or from whatever sticks to the target man. No-brainer for me, keep McNulty - you need versatile players.
Grigg is one of the most unusual Sunderland signings of recent times. When we found out Stewart Donald forked out to bring him to the club everybody, I dare say, was very pleased to see a proven league one scorer who could slot straight into the team to replace Maja.
But then, well, nothing happened. Grigg looks totally out of love with football. I won't speculate as to why but anyone who supports Sunderland and has seen him play knows that moving him on is the only option. It would be a mercy to everyone involved to draw a line under this and move on. Unfortunately I just cant see that happening unless it’s at a hugely discounted price and crucially, not to a rival.
I honestly can’t think of a way we can make that work.
Maybe Shrewsbury want to swap him for their captain? Or Burton will swap him for Liam Boyce? Is he even worth as much as either of those players any more? If he does stay let’s just hope can remain professional, work hard and then you never know. He might just pop up with a crucial goal when you least expect it.
I’ve just read that last sentence back and honestly, even I can’t believe it.