Signed for £14m, left for £0: O’Neill endured a Sunderland shocker on 6 ft 1 flop – opinion


Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman has labored exhausting in latest switch home windows to domesticate a squad filled with proficient younger prospects to compete within the first-team.

The Black Cats chief has struck gold with the likes of Amad Diallo, Jack Clarke, and Patrick Roberts, to call a number of, and has additionally introduced in high quality, skilled, operators like Danny Batth and Corry Evans.

Nevertheless, the membership haven’t at all times had the best success within the switch market through the years and have been vulnerable to bringing within the occasional flop.

One participant who that they had a howler with on the Stadium of Gentle was Scotland worldwide Steven Fletcher, who joined Sunderland from then recently-relegated Premier League outfit Wolves in the summertime of 2012.

How did Steven Fletcher carry out for Sunderland?

Then-boss Martin O’Neill snapped the centre-forward up for a £14m bundle and lauded the signing, saying“I feel Steven will probably be terrific for us. Steven has a confirmed monitor file of scoring objectives.

“He’s underrated, but not by me. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to bring him to Sunderland.”

The striker got here to Wearside off the again of scoring a powerful 22 Premier League objectives in two seasons with Wolves and loved an outstanding first marketing campaign with the Black Cats.

Fletcher plundered 11 objectives and one help in 28 top-flight outings for the membership – averaging a WhoScored score of 6.98 – and received an eye catching 5.1 aerial battles per match.

Nevertheless, the next three seasons had been plagued by inconsistent shows and a scarcity of objectives. The flop managed solely 12 strikes in 66 Premier League video games between the 2013/14 and 2015/16 campaigns – averaging a WhoScored score of 6.73 or decrease in that point.

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He additionally did not common greater than 4 aerial battles received per outing in that three-year spell and that implies that the 6 foot 1 attacker’s usefulness to the crew pale alongside his objectives.

Fletcher did extremely nicely to attain 11 in his first season however to then fail to attain greater than 5 in any of the next three campaigns was disappointing from the Scottish attacker.

This led to the Black Cats releasing him on a free switch in the summertime of 2016, previous to his transfer to Sheffield Wednesday within the decrease tiers, which was simply 4 years on from the £14m deal to snap him up from Wolves.

Due to this fact, O’Neill had a shocker with Fletcher as Sunderland, basically, managed to get one good 12 months out of the striker earlier than being left with an underwhelming and inconsistent centre-forward for 3 years – after lavishing out a big price for his companies and recouping none of it along with his exit.


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