Sunderland have had their ups and downs particularly in the transfer market since their relegation from the Premier League.
With the club appearing back on an upward trajectory and pushing for promotion under Lee Johnson, the international break provides us with a good time to reflect on some of the less successful deals made by the Black Cats in recent years.
It was a tricky watch seeing the Wearside club relegated twice in as many years and landing in the third tier in 2018 with Simon Grayson and Chris Coleman unable to halt Sunderland’s slide to League One.
There was some peculiar business conducted particularly in their 2017/18 season in the Championship that has not aged very well.
We have picked out three standout names dating back to the club’s Premier League days where the Black Cats certainly did not see a worthy return on their investment.
Here, we have taken a look at three times Sunderland got ripped off in the transfer market…
The infamous January 2019 deadline day signing of Will Grigg for over £3 million has been like the Football League equivalent of Fernando Torres’ £50 million flop at Chelsea.
As was so well documented in the Netflix documentary Sunderland Til I Die, owner at the time Stewart Donald was desperate for a new striker to fire the Black Cats towards promotion and ended up hugely overpaying for the Northern Irishman.
Grigg signed on a three and a half year deal and has scored just eight goals in 62 appearances.
It has not been a good fit for either party and the 30-year-old will remain on loan at Rotherham United until his contract runs out at the end of the season. Therefore, it looks like there will not be a return on the hefty investment.
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Recently retired former Everton striker James Vaughan joined the club in the second tier in 2017/18. He signed from Bury in July and left for Wigan Athletic the following January with the club failing to recoup what they had spent for his signature.
Vaughan managed two goals in 27 outings and hung up his boots after an unsuccessful League Two play-off campaign with Tranmere Rovers last term aged just 32.
Livewire wideman Buckley came in from Brighton and Hove Albion for £2.8 million in August 2014, three years later, with three loan spells in between, he departed the Stadium of Light on a free transfer for Bolton Wanderers.
Buckley made 24 appearances for the Black Cats without troubling the scorers and retired at the end of his contract at Bolton in the summer of 2020 at the age of 30.
Once again Sunderland failed to bring in a player who would go on to justify their transfer fee.