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It would appear that the year 2019 was one of Sunderland’s transfer mistakes.
In the January window, Stewart Donald couldn’t cover himself in much glory when he made a complete hash of his goals of signing a new forward.
Once Josh Maja left, the club was looking to add two new forwards, but it took them until the last embers of the deadline day to land just one.
That, of course, was Will Grigg. The Mackems had flopped with several offers after former football manager Richard Hill left the deal to Donald.
In the end, he paid considerably above the odds. Grigg pushed Sunderland back £ 4 million and with her he has only delivered eight goals. It has been a crippling burden on the club’s finances and may have kept them from getting a better deal in the summer window later in the year.
The player we’re talking about here is Marcus Maddison. The attacking midfielder grew up a childhood Black Cats fan and was almost hired, but because of the finances of the deal.
Should Sunderland have signed Maddison?
Speaking about a possible move in August 2019, Hill said: “I had a conversation with Barry Fry and it was about everything related to football, as are our conversations. On this occasion, Marcus Maddison was mentioned and I was asked if there was any interest, and I was informed that there was a release clause in his £ 2.5 million contract; I said that with that money he was not for me. “
Compared to Grigg, Maddison was cheap as chips, especially for someone who has dominated League One. Last season he scored eleven goals and recorded eight assists, proving to be a considerable goal threat.
hill continued: “What I’ll say though, is at the end of this season when Marcus Maddison’s contract has expired, so that’s a totally different puzzle in my opinion.”
Unfortunately for the Mackems, he joined Charlton on a permanent deal. Sunderland was never on the scene.
Now, if Hill had scrapped the £ 2.5 million at the time, it is incredibly likely that they would have had a much greater chance of moving up. After all, their top scorer last season only found the net in ten occasions – lower than Maddison’s account.
It will have been a lot of money, but Donald certainly hasn’t been afraid to shake the checkbook. Hindsight is a wonderful thing, of course, but the 27-year-old is a tremendously talented player.
Wycombe’s boss, Gareth Ainsworth, once labelled he “the best player in League One”. That tells you everything you need to know.
Sunderland made a big mistake by not taking him to the Stadium of Light last year.