Sunderland’s Will Grigg could be the man to lead them to promotion after an impressive start to his career in the north east.
The Northern Irishman was signed for £3.4m from Wigan in January after finishing as League One’s top scorer last season. Since then, he’s played five games for the club, scoring one and assisting another, and that’s hardly ground-breaking, but it’s his all-round game that has the potential to take Sunderland back up into the Championship.
The Black Cats’ last main man, Josh Maja, was sold to Bordeaux in the same month and many thought it would be a like-for-like replacement, however Grigg’s ability to run in behind the defensive line was a weak part of Maja’s game, and it’s opening up more opportunities for Sunderland to break down defences.
Grigg can hold the ball up well and come deep to help out, just like his predecessor did, but his added dynamism has given wide-man Aiden McGeady, in particular, an opportunity to make use of the space he creates. The transition between Sunderland’s midfield and final third is now more fluid with Grigg’s link-up play and intelligent movement.
The 27-year-old isn’t quite living up to his infamous chant yet, but he’s certainly made an impression on Wearside. His proven record in the division will add to Sunderland’s confidence that they can bounce straight back into England’s second division next season. They currently sit third, seven points behind league leaders Luton Town with a game in hand.
The goals will come as he grows into the side, but the early signs are good, so this could be just about to turn into the best few million the club have ever spent.