The extent to which Sunderland have failed in the transfer market over the last few years can always be brought back to the 2019 window.
At first glance, it looked as though Josh Maja was going to stay at the Stadium of Light. However, his agent managed to tie up a deal with Bordeaux and he departed the Mackems.
Consequently, they were left needing a striker to fill the gap of the 15 goals he’d taken with him to France.
That, however, didn’t go well at all. Sunderland came into transfer deadline day still needing a centre-forward and consequently, opposing clubs could string them along.
That’s exactly what happened with Stewart Donald. He failed with several bids for Wigan attacker Will Grigg before eventually landing him for £4m.
Financially that was shocking business but they were at least signing someone with a proven track record in League One. He’d scored 19 for Wigan in the very same division only a year prior, firing the Latics to promotion.
To say things haven’t worked out since would be an understatement. He’s scored only eight times after arriving and is yet to find the back of the net in 2019/20.
At Wimbledon, though, another striker was banging in goals on a regular basis, one the Black Cats let slip through their net.
After leaving West Brom in the summer of 2018, Finnish striker Marcus Forss had a trial with Sunderland. They chose not to sign him and instead, he went and penned terms with Brentford.
A loan spell followed last season where Forss bagged 11 times in just 18 third-tier outings. Since heading back to the Bees, he has scored goals again – this time in the Championship. In 19 appearances this season, the 21-year-old beast has found the net seven times.
This is a young individual who knows where the goal is and appears to be a player that Lee Johnson is crying out for.
The criticism, therefore, should go to Donald and the Mackems’ talent spotters for failing to sign him.
Forss has now been linked with Borussia Dortmund and could make a move to one of the most prestigious clubs in European football.
Had he signed for Sunderland, who knows where they could be now? Unlike Grigg, the youngster could have won them promotion.
In other news, Johnson must unleash Sunderland talent with “magic feat”…