Sunderland: Can Geordie Graham be a gem for O'Neill?
Look out, there’s a Geordie on the pitch!So the Danny Graham saga has finally ended with the much-maligned Geordie putting pen to paper on a three-and-a-half year deal after the Black Cats agreed a deal in excess of £5 million with Swansea.
Graham was the only arrival at the Stadium of Light, Ahmad Elmohamady and Louis Saha headed in the opposite direction with the Egyptian back on loan at Hull and Saha released on a free transfer. With Alfred N’Diaye excelling in his first two games and Kader Mangane edging closer to fitness, and Martin O’Neill set to welcome back Carlos Cuellar, Danny Rose and Lee Cattermole from injury Sunderland could make a steady march to the top half of the table, and possibly even flirt with the dreaded E word (Europe).
The big question now, is, where will Graham fit in? Will he be part of a lethal two-man strike force with Steven Fletcher? Will he be reduced to the same role he endured at the Swans - that of back up to the first choice forward? It remains to be seen what O’Neill meant when he said he has “a role for Graham” but Black Cats fans should at least be pleased that the club brought someone in on what was largely an uneventful deadline day (with the exception of Beckham and Harry Redknapp’s shenanigans).
Certainly those in the red and white half of the North East are torn between forgiving the Geordie’s comments all those years ago, while it was evident that there are sections of fans who will more than likely give him stick on his home debut (against Arsenal in nine days). Personally, I think the former Middlesbrough trainee should be allowed to endear himself to those on Wearside by doing what O’Neill paid for him to do - score goals and lift the club to a position they need to be in.
Minutes after signing Graham was quoted as saying, “I've always given 100% no matter what team I play for and no matter whom I play against,” this was evident on Tuesday when Graham did his best to take all three points against his new employers. Of course, many will look back at Michael Chopra fluffing his lines against the enemy in 2009 and hope that history doesn’t repeat itself but if Jack Colback is anything to go by, we should see another hard-working, die for the cause Geordie slipping on the red and white stripes and banging them in perhaps as early as this weekend.
Maybe he’ll even kiss the badge when he scores at St James’ in April. Well, one can dream, right?
Calling all Sunderland fans: Are you pleased with the arrival of Graham? Do you think he can win over the doubters and be a hit? Whatever your views, we'd love to hear from you.