Monday, July 09, 2007

Has Keano lost his magic?...

A few years ago in the mists/smog of time, Bryan Robson AKA captain marvel, assembled a team of big name players at Middlesbrough. Granted Robbo had the full backing of perhaps the best chairman in the land in Steve Gibson, but prior to the former United skipper taking over as manager 'Boro had never been really able to attract players of the calibre of the likes of Italy's ' White Feather' Ravanelli, Brazilian Juninho and Nick Barmby (he was considered useful back then, yes really...).

At the time it was widely acknowledged that Robson was in indeed instrumental in attracting this collection of big hitters, which in turn helped to establish Boro in the top flight.

Move the clock forward to 2007 and near neighbours Sunderland have been talking a good game after promotion, but it doesn't look as though The Black Cats are going to walk the walk in the transfer market.

Apparently manager Roy Keane is mainly interested in players who have Premiership experience, and we know top British talent comes at a premium, so assembling a team that is going places in the big league is going to be very expensive indeed if the Sunderland board have any ambitions of turning the club around.

It doesn't follow that Keane is against signing overseas stars, but perhaps the Irishman needs to broaden his horizons and look to the continent for new recruits, because on the evidence of what I've see so far, Sunderland are going to really struggle next season.

If you cannot cannot even capture the likes of David Nugent, then what hope is there? As I understand it, Nugent would rather sign for Everton or perhaps even Portsmouth. You might have expected that the Preston man would have fancied linking up with the legend that is Keano, seemingly not. Where is the player pulling power that Bryan Robson imbued?

In an ideal world, there'd be few foreign stars in the Premier League, but we are living in the real world and you simply cannot rely on British players all of the time. Harry Redknapp and Sam Allardyce have made their living on the back of value for money signings who hadn't previously played in the Premier League.

If Keane has ambitions of being a United manager one day, then he will have to get to grips with the concept of signing players from overseas and those without prior experience of playing in the Premier League.

The Sunderland board need to wake up and smell the coffee too, you cannot expect to stay in the top flight if you do not fully back your manager in the transfer market.

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