Young striker Anthony Stokes has joined Sunderland,
after returning from a loan spell at Falkirk in which
he scored an impressive 16 goals in 18 appearances.
He left the Scottish Premier League as its top scorer.|
I have to admit it's a little disappointing, because
it's hard to see what more Stokes could have done to
prove his potential to Arsene Wenger. I'd been thinking
that one of the reasons we didn't need to buy anyone in
the transfer window was that we could bring back one
of our free-scoring loan strikers - i.e. Stokes or
Nicklas Bendtner. But with Stokes leaving and
Bendtner picking up a nasty injury at Birmingham City
the other day, it seems instead that we'll be
persisting with Jeremie Aliadiere if and when we
need back-up for Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie,
and Emmanuel Adebayor (I'm not ignoring Theo Walcott
and Julio Baptista, just recognising that Wenger doesn't
seem enormously keen on using them as central strikers).
Perhaps Wenger has noticed, as the Independent have,
that only one of the clubs against which Stokes has scored
(Celtic) is outside the bottom 6 of the SPL. Still,
played in some crap leagues while out on loan as well, and when
did he ever score at that kind of rate?
Speaking of Celtic, their boss Gordon Strachan was also
keen on Stokes, and at one point it seemed certain that
that's where he'd go. As his father said on Sunday, "Anthony didn't
sleep the night after learning that Celtic had an offer accepted.
We thought it was a done deal. He loves Celtic and was prepared to
accept less money to play for them. When he gets up in the morning
he listens to Celtic songs and by the time he goes to bed he's
watched Celtic videos."
But instead, this morning Stokes seemed to be on the verge of
signing for Charlton Athletic, saying that he was flattered
by Strachan's interest, and that of Roy Keane at Sunderland,
but he was drawn by the prospect of playing in the
Premiership. The Independent suggest, somewhat nastily
I thought, that instead it was the money. The Addicks and
the Black Cats are said to have offered him nearly
twice as much. Why should one accept what his father
said about wanting to play for Celtic so much, rather than
what the player himself says about furthering his career
better by being in the Premiership, or about having been
talked around by his countryman Keane? Maybe he did have a
sleepless night from the excitement of knowing that
Celtic were interested, but maybe in the cold light of
day he realised that he was better off in England.
And in the Premiership. Since they're currently only 3 points
off the Championship play-off places, Sunderland have a far better chance
of giving Stokes Premiership football next season than