Sunderland have been dealt a major blow in their pursuit of goalkeeper John Ruddy in the summer transfer window…
What’s the talk?
The Northern Echo reporter Scott Wilson has revealed that Alex Neil was eyeing up a deal to snap up the former Wolves ‘keeper.
He tweeted: “#SAFC have been seriously considering John Ruddy as a goalkeeper signing – but the former England international looks to be heading to Birmingham instead…”
Shortly after this claim, the Blues officially announced the signing of the veteran shot-stopper on a free transfer ahead of the 2022/23 campaign.
Neil will be gutted
The Black Cats manager will surely be gutted by this development, as the 35-year-old would have been an excellent addition to the Sunderland squad.
He would have come in with a pre-existing relationship with Neil. Ruddy played 76 times for him during their time together at Norwich over the course of three seasons, including one in the Premier League and two in the Championship.
Is this a big blow for Sunderland?
The pair experienced a promotion season in the second tier together as they beat Middlesbrough 2-0 in the play-off final in the 2014/15 campaign. This shows that they both know what it takes to get promoted out of the division, and that the shot-stopper would have brought valuable experience to the group.
He has racked up 122 appearances in the Premier League, along with 163 in the Championship, and this shows how much knowledge he would have been able to provide to the rest of the team, as he has been there and done it in the top two tiers of English football.
Ruddy could have been the perfect number two to push Anthony Patterson, whilst aiding the 22-year-old’s development by giving him tips and helping him in training. He could have imparted his wisdom to the young shot-stopper to help him settle into life in the second tier.
Instead, he will be an asset to one of their Championship rivals at Birmingham City. Neil will be gutted that the player with whom he was keen on reuniting has ended up going to a club against whom they will be competing in the 2022/23 campaign.
The 41-year-old will also be fuming that he does not have the experienced back-up that he wants, as it leaves Patterson without any real competition for his place between the sticks. The youngster needs someone to challenge him and Kristjaan Speakman must now work hard to find a suitable alternative to Ruddy before the end of the transfer window.
AND in other news, Imagine him & Stewart: Neil can form deadly Sunderland duo with “massive” 43-goal gem…