Sunderland have had a fantastic second half of the season following the arrival of Alex Neil and earning a spot in the League One play-off final, however, when it comes to summer transfer signings, the Black Cats boss could be onto his first disaster.
According to Daily Mirror journalist David Anderson, Sunderland join a host of clubs interested in signing Oxford United free agent Alex Rodriguez-Gorrin this summer.
“Alex Rodriguez is leaving Oxford on a free transfer and is wanted by Sunderland, Wigan, Burton, Lincoln and Portsmouth.”
When it comes to making signings this summer, Neil should be looking for players that can improve the squad whether they get promoted to the Championship or challenge for promotion again in League One, and this particular signing doesn’t make sense for achieving that.
Rodriguez-Gorrin is no stranger to the Stadium of Light as he joined the youth set-up playing for Sunderland U18s and U23s before being released back in 2014, but to bring the midfielder back after an eight-year spell elsewhere shouldn’t be a priority for the North East club.
The 28-year-old was criticised this season for making it “difficult” for his team at Oxford United, in a scathing review of his impact on the side over the last three seasons by football writer Rupert Fryer, who tweeted:
“Into his third season and still don’t get Rodríguez Gorrín; or why I seem to be in the minority?”
“He spends entire matches badly passing the ball square or backwards, achieving little other than making the game more difficult for the rest of his team.”
Rodriguez-Gorrin has hardly set his team alight this season with just 13 appearances for the League One side after being sidelined with a major injury problem after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament back in November and has not since returned to action.
During his appearances this season ahead of his serious injury, the midfielder lost the majority of his aerial duels (57%) and lost the ball every 5.2 touches on average per game, proving that he may not be very effective in defensive transition if deployed in the Mackem’s midfield next season.
With that being said, when you consider the wealth of talent in Sunderland’s current midfield with Alex Pritchard, Corry Evans and Elliot Embleton for example, who have all played a vital part in bringing the quality needed to qualify for a play-off position, it’s safe to say the midfielder wouldn’t be needed.