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The one that got away: David Beckham and Sunderland

Could the well-documented demise of Sunderland Football Club been saved if Steve Bruce managed to sign one of the world’s most famous people, David Beckham, back in 2010 – we’ll never know.

What we do know, however, is that the extensive list of truly disappointing, overpaid “talent” each contributed in their own way to lead Sunderland to successive relegation from the Premier League to League One.

The Black Cat’s transfer history is long and makes for very, very poor reading.

Players such as Steven Fletcher, who’s now withering away in the Championship, were completing deals upwards of £14m (source: BBC Sport). Jack Rodwell, often considered their worst ever signing, joined for £10m and continued to collect his £70,000 per week up until 2018, despite rarely ever playing – costing a calculated £299,000 per appearance (source: Chronicle Live). Jeremain Lens, Fabio Borini, Kaboul, Alvarez and Kone; the list goes on and on.

Indeed, it’s no secret that their frivolous recruitment took its toll on the club, which later found itself on the brink of ruin.

To what extent would Steve Bruce’s marquee signing have saved the club…

David Beckham: the missing link?

At 35-years-of-age, David Beckham was in the twilight years of his career when former Sunderland manager Steve Bruce tried to acquire his services back in 2010 (source: Daily Star).

A player at LA Galaxy at the time, whose season had already ended, Beckham was on the market for a club while he waited for the following campaign and had a number of solid possible locations in Europe. Namely, Sunderland and Milan.

Bruce apparently tried his best to lure the ex-Manchester United and Real Madrid star to the north east but ultimately failed when Beckham opted to join Andrea Pirlo and Ronaldinho at AC Milan.

Although he certainly wasn’t in his prime, he certainly would have done a better job than Andy Reid and Sessegnon – with the added bonus of substantial financial benefits.

After all, his sole purpose in the MLS was to promote “soccer” to the American market.

The same could certainly have been said of Sunderland if he had he joined.

Then again, there’s every chance the club could have squandered the money on more useless players. So maybe it was for the better.

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