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‘Would have been desperate’ – Kevin Phillips makes claim about January departure from Sunderland

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Former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips says the club’s board will have been ‘desperate’ to secure a move away from the Stadium of Light for striker Will Grigg during the January transfer window.

Having joined Sunderland from Wigan back in the 2019 January transfer window for £4million, things have simply not worked out for Grigg at the Stadium of Light.

The striker scored just eight goals in 61 appearances in all competitions for the Black Cats, and after falling down the pecking order this season, secured a loan move to former club MK Dons on the final day of the January transfer window, something Phillips believes could work for all parties.

Speaking to Football Insider about Grigg’s time at Sunderland, Phillips said: “It was best for all parties that he moved on.

“It has not worked for him at Sunderland and it happens. I backed him when he first came in because I thought he would do well but for whatever reason it just has not happened.

“I am not going to slaughter the kid. Yes, at times his work rate was not good enough but he just looked low of confidence. He looked down.”

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As a result, Phillips believes the Sunderland hierarchy will be pleased to have moved the striker on, even if he does believe Grigg could now make a big impact for MK Dons, with the ex-England international adding: “From the board’s point of view, they would have been desperate to get him out and to free up some room on the wage bill.

“However, it would not surprise me if he goes down there and starts scoring, how many times have we seen that happen.”   

Sunderland currently sit sixth in the League One table, eight points adrift of the automatic promotion places, while MK Dons are 16th, eight clear of the relegation zone.

The Verdict

I do think that Phillips has a point with what he is saying here.

Things have not gone as anyone associated with the club would have wanted with regards to Grigg, and given the profile he has, you would not expect this to have been a cheap deal in any way.

With that in mind, moving him on in order to clear some space in the budget – as they have now done – does seem to make sense, particularly with the club having sourced a replacement in Ross Stewart.

You also feel as though Grigg himself could benefit from a fresh start at MK Dons, and it will be interesting to see if he is able to take advantage of that between now and the end of the season.


UCLan Sports Journalism graduate, been writing for Football League World since March 2019. I've previously worked for the likes of Blackburn Rovers and Opta, among others.

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Article title: ‘Would have been desperate’ – Kevin Phillips makes claim about January departure from Sunderland

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