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Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final

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RR’s 2021/22 End of Season Awards: Who was Sunderland’s signing of the season?

The majority of Sunderland’s transfer business last season was great - but who was the best signing we made? Our panel have their say... let us know what you think!

Photo by Federico Maranesi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says... Nathan Broadhead!

This lad has had such a massive impact that it’s remarkable. Yes, he has spent too much time on the treatment table, but when he has been out on the paddock his conversion rate has been something to behold - 13 goals in 26 appearances across League One, the League Cup and the EFL Trophy is not to be sniffed at.

I really hope we can tie him down and get his injury issues sorted as he is a class above even the Championship if he is fit and firing.

Broadhead is a real all-round striker, and I really hope we have him around in our first season in the Championship.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Will Jones says... Alex Pritchard!

The magician had to take the top spot here for me.

Everything he touched turned to gold - from saving us with free kicks, to playing an incredible amount of amazing line-breaking balls away at Wycombe, the lad has it all.

He manipulates the ball in a way I’ve not seen before in League One. Thirteen goal contributions from 28 starts and nine further substitute appearances from someone who didn’t have a pre-season, and took a while to get started on Wearside, is amazing.

I’ve loved watching him play - the way he runs the channels, drops deep, spreads the ball, initiates attacks, and carries the ball is way above League One.

It has been a pleasure to watch him in a Sunderland shirt and if he stays fit, I’m sure he will be able to do the same next season.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Federico Maranesi/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Mike Dunne says... Corry Evans!

Alex Pritchard, Nathan Broadhead and the likes have all been fantastic signings and will hopefully stay with us next season as we build for the next level, but I’m going to go with Corry Evans.

It’s a bit left-field but I’ve felt a little sorry for Evans at times this season. He’s been made the scapegoat by fans occasionally, and whilst his performances at times were probably below par, the way he has led us the last few months has been phenomenal.

Evans has shown the ability he has. He is calmness personified, offers a great anchor in central midfield and shows cuteness and intelligence that maybe our other players lack.

He is a massive reason why we got promoted, and it probably goes under the radar.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One Play-Off Final Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images

Jack Gingell says... Alex Pritchard!

It had some hallmarks of previous poor pieces of business by Sunderland - disliked by his former club, failed to hit heights that he should have done and so on, but thankfully, nothing could have been further from the truth.

Pritchard had shown a strong level of ability at a higher level, but had since lost his way after a poor spell with Huddersfield.

As a free transfer, it appeared low risk though comments from Huddersfield supporters were disparaging and a slow acclimatisation process didn’t do a lot to win hearts and minds.

Once up to speed, however, it was clear to see how Pritchard had been so highly rated with his vision, creativity, ability on the ball and set pieces a cut above pretty much anything at this level.

He has been instrumental in our success and that was typified with two assists in the Playoff final, in a game where he was not only at his creative best but also grafted like a beaver and put his body on the line.

With Pritchard we have a player tailor-made for the Championship, and I’m excited to see what else he has to offer.

Cheltenham Town v Sunderland - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Matty Foster says... Alex Pritchard!

I think it has to be, doesn’t it?

Arriving on a free, he was clearly somebody with bags full of ability, but was coming off a miserable period with Huddersfield, having failed to live up to his £11m transfer fee.

He recently admitted at the time of signing, he was falling out of love with football. So, it was a risk for him to drop to League One, as if he failed to rediscover that love, he could fade into obscurity.

It hadn’t started well for him either, having contracted COVID in pre-season, so he was immediately on the back foot.

But everything about his performances showed a player far too good for League One. Going forward, his creativity was a thorn in the side of many sides this season. And a player who every time he stepped up to a free kick, I expected to see the net bulge.

He will be huge for us next season, and one of many I feel will keep Sunderland well away from an immediate return to League One.

Sunderland v Wycombe Wanderers - Sky Bet League One - Play Off - Final - Wembley Stadium Photo by Tim Goode/PA Images via Getty Images
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