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Sunderland had a nightmare with the signing of Will Grigg

Former Sunderland owner, and current minority stakeholder, Stewart Donald endured a difficult spell as chairman of the club in League One.

He struggled as the Black Cats failed to earn promotion out of the third tier and he made his fair share of blunders in the transfer market along the way.

One player he had a nightmare with was the signing of Northern Ireland international Will Grigg from Wigan in the January transfer window of the 2018/19 campaign.

The Sunderland chief was desperate to replace Josh Maja on deadline day and heavily pursued the Latics centre-forward, with multiple failed attempts before he eventually snapped him up.

Then-manager Jack Ross, who was recorded by the Netflix documentary ‘Sunderland ‘Till I Die’, urged Donald against paying more than the £1.25m offer the club had made at the time of the conversation, with Richard Hill claiming that the player was not worth that much and the fee being quoted was “mental”.

Was Grigg worth £1.25m?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Hill also attempted to talk him out of a move for Grigg by saying that it was not the “right thing” to do and that he had fallen into the January transfer window “trap”.

In the end, Sunderland signed the striker in a deal worth around £4m, almost £3m more than the fee Ross claimed was too much for the player.

All of the warning signs were there for Donald to realise that it would be a mistake but he went ahead with the big-money swoop in an attempt to bolster the club’s team in League One.

The forward went on to score four goals in 18 third-tier matches for the club in the second half of that season, before scoring just once in 20 matches the following campaign.

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Sunderland striker Ross Stewart in action

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He had scored 19 or more goals in four of his last five League One seasons prior to joining Sunderland but failed to rediscover his goalscoring touch in the division for the Black Cats.

Ross claimed that more than £1.25m would be ‘mental’ and the £4m they eventually paid for him proved to be exactly that as he struggled badly on the pitch. The Scottish manager knew that the forward was not worth that kind of money and his poor goalscoring record proved the ex-Sunderland boss right.

After loan spells with Rotherham and MK Dons, the Black Cats released him on a free transfer in the summer of 2021 and he currently plays for The Dons in League One, where he has scored three goals in nine matches this term.

Donald undeniably endured a nightmare with Grigg as he grossly overpaid in the eyes of Hill and Ross. The player’s performances on the pitch and subsequent release prove that the pair were correct in their assessment of his value, as it turned out to be a huge blunder.

Article title: Sunderland had a nightmare with the signing of Will Grigg

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