Darren Bent’s departure from Sunderland for an initial £18m could have been a huge dent to the European ambitions of Steve Bruce’s men, but luckily a replacement is already on hand, in the form of the record signing, Asamoah Gyan. After losing Bent, the Ghanaian is the only forward available for Sunderland, with both Danny Welbeck and Fraizer Campbel out injured. When asked about the lack of options up front, Bruce said “Asamoah has played all his career as a lone striker for his country and his clubs.”
On paper, a partnership between Bent and Gyan was a scintillating prospect, with Gyan being the more creative of the pair and Bent fulfilling the role of the primary goalscorer. In reality this potential partnership failed to materialise due to injuries both players sustained and ultimately a lack of time on the pitch together. In retrospect, the consensus seems to be that Bent is more of a lone wolf and that it never would have worked anyway. Perhaps then, Sunderland have done well to get such a large sum of money for Bent. There is no doubting they could miss Bent’s goals, but if the money is invested correctly in a replacement, then good times will continue to roll at the Stadium of Light.
A £3m deal for Stoke striker Ricardo Fuller seems to be on the cards, but reservations about the Jamaican are common. Fuller is undoubtedly a talented player but he is prone to injury, something Bruce can ill afford with only one senior striker available at the moment. Sunderland have also been linked with Roman Pavlyuchenko, who is finding it hard to get a game at Spurs, mainly making substitute appearnces this season.
All of this speculation is naturally pointless as it is the next game against Chelsea that matters and questions are being asked of Gyan’s ability to provide the goals. Make no mistake, Gyan is a very good player. He trailed Bent (the penalty taker) by only one goal in the league this season, so he is more than capable of scoring. The interesting part of his game however, is his creativity, as Gyan has an eye for assists. Against Blackpool on Saturday, his ball to send Kieran Richardson through for the first goal was absolutely delicious.
Perhaps with Gyan as their first choice forward, the rest of the Sunderland team will take on more goalscoring responsibility. Last season, only Bent managed to bag more than 10 goals, with Kenwyne Jones the only other player to score more than 5 goals. When Bent was failing to perform, too often Sunderland failed to get the result. Sunderland therefore, were a one trick pony. With Gyan and another player to partner him, be it Welbeck, Campbel or a new man, the Sunderland faithful could soon be forgetting all about Darren Bent as thier march into Europe continues.
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