Our problem with both players will be finding them clubs.
The transfer market has died a death and as such, everyone will be looking for a bargain this summer. Players still under contract are going to seem less attractive and probably won’t find themselves new clubs until clubs start getting desperate in the final days of the window - and that’s where I reckon we’ll see Grigg and Dobson come into it.
In Grigg’s case he’s on mega wages and we haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of shifting him on, full paid up. That’s the deal we had with MK Dons last season and I imagine it’ll be the same craic this time around.
Grigg’s probably made himself a more attractive proposition having done well with MK, and I reckon he’ll have a few more clubs sniffing round him. He could have dropped a league to go to Salford by all accounts in January but he proved he can still do it in League One, and that will get tongues wagging.
The fact I don’t envisage him leaving early in the window means he’ll probably take part in pre-season and that means he’s got every chance of being in the squad at the start of the season. What if he’s fit, motivated and scoring goals in pre-season? Johnson will surely give him a go. I’m not saying it will happen but, you know... stranger things have happened.
Dobson is an interesting one given he barely worked with Johnson, is still a young man and will be on loan wages. He’s another that I think might stand half a chance of forcing his way into the plans with a good pre-season. The other thing though is that he’s probably easier to shift on, and if someone wants him, I reckon we’ll ease his path out of the club to free up some wages.
I know the majority of fans would just prefer if we got rid of both of them, me included, but it’s not as easy as that and Johnson may be forced to play them should we struggle to get rid.
Matt Smith says...
Let’s face it, nobody’s going to get excited about the return of these two. Whereas Embleton will be welcomed with open arms if he decides to stay, neither Dobson nor Grigg can expect, nor deserve, the red carpet treatment.
A Winchester/Dobson midfield pairing with Grigg leading the line is as far removed from the brave new world of the KLD era as it’s possible to get. It wouldn’t be a terrible League One upper spine, by any means, but now is not the time for humble acceptance of competence commensurate with a middle-ranking third tier club.
That said, squad depth is undoubtedly important at this level. This is a lesson that we’re well versed in. As a tall, young midfielder, albeit one with huge room for improvement, Dobson ticks enough boxes to warrant a place in the squad. Barring a spectacular pre-season and clear signs of developmental progress he obviously shouldn’t be starting games and, for that reason, he may decide to leave and no tears will be shed.
Grigg is another matter entirely but he could be difficult to shift. Again, his opportunities will, all things being well, be very limited and much will depend on his own self-respect. If he wants to sit out his final year with his value, recently given a boost from a decent loan spell, rapidly depreciating then it’s a sad reflection on the guy’s attitude.
However, the burden of a ridiculous price tag wasn’t his fault and he may view his final year as a last chance to prove himself in an environment where very little is expected of him. In which case good luck to him but I won’t be holding my breath.
Chris Wynn says...
In the case of George Dobson, I think there’s a player in there somewhere. He had a good apprenticeship at Arsenal and West Ham United before doing well at Walsall.
He will turn 24-years-old in November and has a year left on his contract having singed for three years in 2019. Phil Parkinson attempted to turn him into a holding midfielder player at the beginning of last season and I’m not sure that suited his game.
I fully expect Lee Johnson to take a good look at him this summer and wouldn’t be surprised if he played a part next season.
In the case of Will Grigg, I think it’s more than just trying to get him firing on the pitch, I just don’t think he wants to be at Sunderland. With the way the transfer happened and comment he has made about not wanting to leave Wigan, he has never been comfortable in the North-East.
It could well be a game of cat-and-mouse this summer between the club and player with Grigg playing down how much he wants to leave and the club playing down how much they want him off the books. A conversation is likely to happen and depending on whether ground is conceded I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a deal struck and the player is released.
It would be a relief for the Northern Ireland international and the club to end the saga and go into next season without the baggage the failed partnership continues to generate.