With the January transfer window well and truly shut our coaches here in the “Managers Office” are fast on the case of the new deadline day signings, this look into the most notable signings assess their fantasy potential over the coming weeks and gives fantasy managers a little insight into how they may effect life at their new clubs, with our first article in the series on Chris Samba completed our attention now turns to not exactly a new prospect but that of a player we already know who has jumped ship and is off to the north east.
Danny Graham to Sunderland
Sunderland’s deadline day move for another striker will have come as no surprise, the Black Cat’s are enjoying somewhat of a purple patch at the moment but are struggling for goals and with Steven Fletcher only striker of note at the Stadium of Light after Martin O’ Neill released Louis Saha.Graham, who joined Swansea in the summer of 2011 fromWatford, has made 23 appearances this season, 10 as substitute, and scored seven goals for Swans and looks to be a logical choice for Martin O’ Neill’s side.
Graham’s playing style suggests he could be fielded in tandem with Fletcher in a 4-4-2 with it looking unlikely that if O’Neill has brought him in to support Fletcher in that 4-4-1-1 formation we have seen so much of lately.
A move to 4-4-2 does however have an impact on others around Graham and Fletcher and would certainly diminish Stephane Sessegnon’s appeal. The Benin international has been shifted from his regular role in “the hole” to the right wing in recent games but with three goals in 23 starts, has made a minimal impact this season.
Such a scenario would see him vie for a starting role with Adam Johnson, James McClean and with McClean having already seen his game time reduced it his highly unlikely that Sessegnon is going to muscle his way in ahead of either McClean or Johnson.
One thing we do know is that the acquisition of Graham will afford the Sunderland manager a number of options heading into the business end of the season, something which he was quick to recognise when he spoke to the clubs website upon the unveiling:
“I’ve got a fairly decent idea in my head about how we’ll use Danny. As the players get to know him and he gets to know them, there’ll be a number of formations we’ll be able to use.”
“Danny will work hard for the team and did very well at Swansea, where he had a good season last year,”
The 27-year-old is however under no elusions about how hard it could be to win some portions of the supporters over given his background and is already trying to lay the foundations with fans.
“I was born and brought up in the north east so I know first-hand the intense passion that people have for their football in this part of the world – it’s special and there’s nowhere else like it.”
“Of course, I totally understand that some fans might need convincing about my commitment to Sunderland because of my roots, but I’ve always given 100% no matter what team I play for and no matter who I play against.
“It’s up to me to show people I deserve to wear the Sunderland shirt and I’m excited about playing for a club as big as this. I’m really excited about the future – this is a new phase of my career and I can’t wait to get started.”
Graham who has scored in each of his last two starts for the Swans comes into the side at just the right time to bed in and make a fantasy impact, with favourable games coming up against Reading, West Brom, Fulham, QPR and Norwich in the next six his prospects look bright and at £5.9 million in the game the price may just be right too. We will know more over the coming week, with O’Neill perhaps opting to ease him into the side but either way he is one to monitor closely over the next few weeks.