Premier League Sunderland look set to sign Wolves striker Steven Fletcher for a reported club record fee of £14million.
The fee hasn’t yet been confirmed, but Wolves have already rejected to three bids from the Black Cats for the Scottish international.
If as reported the fee of £14million is correct then the signing of Steven Fletcher could prove a very expensive one.
Sunderland are in need of a striker, but £14million is a lot of money for Sunderland to shell out on one player.
When you look at some of the players that arrived in the Premier League in January, the fee looks very inflated. Everton spent just £5.5million on Croatian hitman Nikica Jelavic and Newcastle spent just £9million on Papiss Demba Cisse, both have been outstanding and score goals.
I don’t think Fletcher will score as may goals as either this season. Fletcher is a decent player, but at £14million he is vastly overpriced.
Sunderland struggled for goals last season, even with Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner on-loan at the club. Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill’s main priority this summer was to bring in a goalscorer. He has already added Louis Saha on free transfer earlier this summer.
However, he obviously knew that the signing of the 34 year-old injury-prone Saha wouldn’t be sufficient. Fletcher seems to have been his big target all summer and it now looks like they are close to signing the Scotland international.
According to Sky Sports the Black Cats have also bid £10million for Fletcher’s Wolves teammate Matt Jarvis. Like Fletcher, Jarvis has handed in a transfer request this summer, as he thinks that playing in the Championship will hamper his chances of adding to his one England cap.
Jarvis didn’t enjoy the best of campaigns last season, but the previous seasons he was one of the reasons the Midlanders survived the drop. A bid of £10million has been lodged according to Sky and Wolves are believed to be thinking the offer over.
The amount of money that Sunderland are prepared to pay for the pair suggests that Sunderland are now seriously ambitious. Unfortunately for the Black Cats it’s going to be very hard for them to finish anywhere above midtable this season, even with the captures of Jarvis and Fletcher.
The top eight are going to be very difficult to move from their spots. It’s hard to see Sunderland breaking into the top eight this season with the competition around them. The likes of Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle are likely to be competing for the Champions League spots.
That’s not even taking into account Liverpool and Everton, who will both be looking to challenge for the top six this season. I don’t think Sunderland are quite in that bracket yet.
Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill is regarded as one of the best in the game. During his time at Aston Villa he managed them to the brink of Champions League football, but in the end they just couldn’t get over that final hurdle.
I’m sure he probably had similar ambitions when he arrived at the Stadium of Light. He joined a club with the potential to be very big. The Blacks Cats have the stadium and the fan base already, all they need is a team to go with them.
When Martin O’Neill arrived at the Stadium of Light last season Sunderland were struggling in the relegation zone. He steadied the ship that nearly sunk under previous boss Steve Bruce. This season is his first full season in charge and I think his first aim would be top ten of the Premier League.
Sunderland made a solid start to the season with an opening day 0-0 draw at Arsenal. They were well organised and looked hard to beat. I could be wrong, but I think most Sunderland fans would probably accept a top ten finish now, if it were offered to them.
The prospective signings of Steven Fletcher and Matt Jarvis are very big gambles in my opinion. It’s a lot of money for the two players in question. Martin O’Neill has a decent record in the transfer market though, so I assume that he knows what he is doing.
Unfortunately, I just don’t see the signings of Fletcher and Jarvis as the sort that will bring a place in the top six of the Premier League, which is where Martin O’Neill wants his team to be. The mooted fees of £24million combined is a lot of money.
For that I’m sure Martin O’Neill could have heavily strengthened his squad. He only has to look at bitter-rivals Newcastle for proof of that.
Expectations are quite high on Wearside this season. Those expectations need to be managed. Sunderland haven’t strengthened their squad significantly this summer and some clubs around them have.
Sunderland have a decent squad and I expect them to finish comfortably in midtable in the Premier League. Anything above that must be regarded as a bonus by Black Cat fans.
Are Sunderland paying over the odds for Steven Fletcher?