It was only a matter of time before something gave at the Stadium of Light, and one victory in 15 Sky Bet Championship fixtures has cost Simon Grayson the job as Sunderland’s manager, ending a miserable couple of months for the ex-Leeds and Preston boss.
Of course, now will be a time for reflection for Grayson, who will be looking back at the mistakes he made during his time in the North East, and how he would have tackled them differently if given the opportunity again.
Here at FLW, we believe Grayson will be frustrated by the lack of funds he had available to him at Sunderland, as the club’s tight budget has ultimately left their squad well short of where it needs to be. One player we believe Grayson should’ve pushed harder to get to the Stadium of Light was Max Gradel, who was linked with a loan move.
Gradel found himself out of the picture at AFC Bournemouth, eventually moving to Toulouse in a season-long loan deal. The Ivorian would have certainly improved the squad Grayson had available to him, and flanked on the opposite side to Aiden McGeady, Sunderland would’ve looked dangerous going forward.
Grayson had previously worked with Gradel at Leeds, and will have known that the 29-year-old was capable of both scoring and creating, after the player enjoyed a magnificent 2010/11 campaign in the Championship under Grayson, scoring 18 goals and assisting a further five.
Gradel is continuing to both score and create with Toulouse, scoring twice and assisting once from just 337 minutes of football across all competitions this season, with the tricky winger showing Sunderland what they missed out on over the summer.
Grayson will have a number of regrets about his time in the North East, but his lack of activity in the transfer window stands out as the reason Sunderland are continuing to struggle. Making more of an effort to bring players like Gradel to the Stadium of Light could well have saved Grayson’s job and prevented the Black Cats facing another fight for survival.
Sunderland fans… Let us know your thoughts!