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Sunderland: Steve Bruce hit the jackpot on James McClean

Sunderland have had their fair share of successes and failures in the transfer market over the years as they have unearthed gems and signed flops in windows gone by.

It is impossible to guarantee that a transfer will go to plan as you cannot account for potential injuries, how they get on away from the pitch and changes in management.

However, one signing the club and then-manager Steve Bruce hit the jackpot on was the addition of James McClean from Derry City in the summer of 2011.

Bruce hailed the deal at the time of the move, saying: “James is an outstanding young talent and has rightly attracted interest from a number of clubs over the summer so we’re very pleased that he sees his future at Sunderland.”

The Black Cats reportedly beat off competition from Peterborough United and Wigan Athletic to land his signature and this shows that the Sunderland boss had to work hard to sign him.

Transfermarkt valued him at £45k after he had produced 20 goals and 13 assists in 87 appearances for Derry City prior to making the switch to England.

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This shows that Bruce was taking a gamble on the youngster as he was not an experienced player or coming from another top European league. He was a lowly-rated – in terms of his valuation – gem with the potential to improve and the manager placed his faith in him.

McClean played 29 games in all competitions in his first year at the Stadium of Light and caught the eye with six goals and four assists from midfield, winning the club’s Young Player of the Season award.

He followed that up by playing 41 matches in the 2012/13 campaign, including 36 outings in the Premier League. The Irishman scored five goals and assisted four and his form for the Black Cats was enough to attract interest from elsewhere.

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Wigan, who had wanted him in the summer of 2011, snapped him up for a fee in the region of £2m in 2013. Transfermarkt valued him at £5.4m at the time of his move to the DW Stadium, which was a whopping 11,900% increase from the £45k he was valued at two years earlier.

This shows that Bruce played a blinder by signing McClean for Sunderland as his gamble paid off, both in terms of the contributions the Ireland international delivered on the pitch and his soaring market value that the club profited from in the end.

Article title: Sunderland: Steve Bruce hit the jackpot on James McClean

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