Welcome back to Grant Leadbitter. Previously a much-loved player on Wearside, where he made a total of 111 appearances between 2003 and 2009, scoring 11 goals. Since then Grant has played 116 games for Ipswich town, before signing for Middlesbrough where he has played 212 matches, scoring an impressive 28 goals as a holding midfielder, including a spell in the Premier League back in 2016.
During this spell he has captained the club and developed himself as a very commanding and trustworthy professional. With his game time this season being rare, playing just eight times in all competitions and the recent addition of Jon Obi Mikel seemingly pushing him further out of Tony Pulis’ plans, the move suits all parties.
Adding Grant into the mixture gives Jack Ross another reason to question his line-up and strive to find his best possible eleven. The likes of Lee Cattermole, Max Power, Dylan McGeough, Bali Mumba, Ethan Robson and George Honeyman can all play a similar role if needed, which shows the depth of our squad and the variety of options we have when selecting a team. As well as this, another signing will keep these players on their toes and hopefully push them to put in an extra ounce of effort on the training ground, as they battle for a starting spot or to move up the ranks in the manager’s plans.
Let’s not forget that Grant is also an academy product and playing a part in our promotion to the Premier League in 2007 whilst managed by Roy Keane. Although he may have lost some of his pace during his spell away, he is technically just as good as he has previously been, with an even higher level of professionalism, which has recently lacked at the club.
He has turned down moves to a number of Championship clubs to seal a return to his boyhood team and hopefully help us achieve promotion.
Some fans have highlighted the fact that we lack some serious pace or power in the midfield, stating that Grant Leadbitter’s play style is very similar to the likes of Lee Cattermole. However, Grant offers a clever forward pass that could tear a defensive unit apart and his goal scoring record massively beats Catts’.
Overall, this addition has both positives and negatives. Nevertheless, I think this is a tremendous piece of business and the fans should be thankful that he has chosen us over other potential buyers. Hopefully Grant’s second spell at Sunderland is just as memorable as first, a truly remarkable player and an incredible professional both on and off the field.