Phil Parkinson will be erupting with anger after Sunderland missed out on Queens Park Rangers striker Lyndon Dykes this summer.
According to the Daily Mail, the Black Cats were one of a host of clubs to have sounded out their interest in Dykes with the 25-year-old a man very much in demand after an excellent campaign with Scottish Premiership minnows Livingston.
It was alleged that the forward’s 12 goals and 10 assists across all competitions had sparked Sunderland to sit up and pay attention, but they always faced an uphill struggle with the Stadium of Light natives’ financial plight expected to price Parkinson’s side out of a move.
Scottish giants Rangers and Celtic plus Championship sextet Stoke City, Middlesbrough, Millwall, Wigan Athletic, Blackburn Rovers and Barnsley were just a handful of sides to have also been keen, but it was QPR who emerged triumphant when they captured Dykes in August in a £2million deal – a club-record income for the Lions.
Dykes left his mark on the Scottish Premiership last term when he scored in Livingston’s surprise win over Celtic and became the first Lions player to net a hat-trick in the top-flight, while dazzling with his quick feet, good aerial presence and solid strength.
He has since continued on an upwards trajectory with three goals in his first nine Championship appearances, while breaking into the senior Scotland squad this September and going on to net twice in six games.
QPR boss Mark Warburton has been full of praise for Dykes, noting how the 6 ft 2 centre-forward was fast proving to be a top-draw signing.
“You look at him first at Queen of the South, then look at him for Livingston scoring goals for one of the smaller teams in Scotland, coming up against Rangers and Celtic and really troubling high-quality centre-halves,” the Rs boss said, via quotes by the Evening Express.
“We spoke here about what he could bring, and you saw what he can offer in both penalty boxes. His work ethic is outstanding, he can link up play and has an eye for goal. Teams became aware of him, but we moved swiftly and got the deal done. I think it’s a fantastic piece of business by the club.”
The early suggestions that Sunderland’s financial plight could price the Black Cats out of a deal were ultimately proved true, as QPR agreed to match Livingston’s demands and win the wide-open race for the Australian-born forward.
Parkinson would no doubt have adored working alongside the striker at the Stadium of Light, with Dykes’ efforts at the Kiyan Price Foundation Stadium showing the 25-year-old to be a step above Sunderland’s leading goalscorer Charlie Wyke.
Four of the Black Cats’ 15 strikes in League One this term have come through Wyke, though the 27-year-old could only register one shot in defeat at home to MK Dons on Saturday as the result left the North East giants just inside the Play-Off positions by a single point.
Wyke’s output was below his average 1.8 efforts on goal each third-tier game this season, while losing four of his seven ground duels and eight of his aerial contests brought his per match average down to a combined 6.6 duels won (1.9 ground, 4.7 aerial), per SofaScore.
Dykes, meanwhile, failed to register an effort on goal during his 83 minutes on the field as Scotland drew 1-1 with Serbia on Thursday, before clinching their qualification to next summer’s postponed Euro 2020 with a dramatic shoot-out victory in the Play-Off Final.
It was a clear off day for Dykes judging by his form since joining QPR, having averaged 1.0 shots and missed three big chances in the Championship this term, alongside winning 7.7 duels (5.8 aerial, 1.9 ground) and making 0.3 successful dribbles a game.
Parkinson will hope to see Wyke find his shooting boots again when Sunderland visit Doncaster Rovers on Saturday after missing a chance to close to the gap to League One leaders Peterborough at the weekend.