A Love Supreme's Luke Hakin takes a look at Sunderland's new arrivals, Aiden McGeady and James Vaughan...
With clubs from all tiers of English football seemingly competing to announce their latest big-money signings in the most outlandish fashion this summer, it’s refreshing to see SAFC buck the trend with the shrewd and sensible additions of Aiden McGeady and James Vaughan.
‘Shrewd’ and ‘sensible’ aren’t perhaps the first words you'd use to describe our transfer policy in recent years, and McGeady and Vaughan aren't necessarily the biggest or most exotic of names, but I can't be alone in thinking the deals represent decent business for the club. Two experienced players – both with something to prove - joining on the back of excellent individual seasons, for a combined fee of around £1m. To put that into context, that’s two players in for less than the cost of Milton Nunez all those years ago.
McGeady brings to the table pace, skill and creativity; qualities we've long cried out for in midfield. There’s an obvious comparison to be made, for me, with fellow winger and former international team mate Andy Reid, both of whom had flair and natural ability in abundance but whose careers had stuttered a little bit before joining the Lads. Like McGeady, Reid had long-been linked with a move to Wearside on the back of excellent form earlier in his career, eventually bringing a touch of class and calmness to our midfield on his arrival.
The one question mark against McGeady throughout his career has been consistency, and so it makes perfect sense for both parties to reunite one of last season’s stand-out Championship performers with the manager who, by McGeady’s own admission, coaxed the best out of him. Going by the comments from Preston fans, Grayson appears to have that knack of getting the very best out of his players, and McGeady’s record of 8 goals and 9 assists last season is proof of that.
Vaughan, on the other hand, arrives as more of an unknown quantity, despite playing fairly regularly in the top two divisions for much of the last 12 years. Whilst not a signing that will immediately get the pulses racing, Bury fans have been unanimous in their praise of Vaughan’s work rate, something that will immediately endear him to the fans. Look beyond that and there’s actually a striker with a fairly decent record in the Championship for Huddersfield, an impressive strike rate of 24 in 37 for Bury last season and is still-to-date the youngest goalscorer in Premier League history.
With the gruelling Saturday – Tuesday – Saturday schedule to navigate, the Championship is very much a squad game. Yes, we do still need another couple of strikers in, but with Watmore to return in the next few months and the youthful Asoro and Maja impressing in pre-season, we look to have more balance in the final third now than we did at the start of the summer.
Whilst we are still short of numbers up front, it’s pleasing to see the manager swiftly identifying targets with minimal fuss.
Both McGeady and Vaughan appear to view the moves as a step up for them in their careers, and whilst it may be a cliché, that won’t go unnoticed with the fans.
The views expressed within this article are the views of the individual contributors and not necessarily those of Sunderland AFC.
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