Sunderland have confirmed the signing of James McFadden on a free transfer.
The 29-year-old forward was released from former club Everton when his contract expired last summer and, in accordance with league regulations stating that free agents may sign club contracts outside the transfer window, he made his move to the Stadium of Light.
The Scot had been training with Martin O’Neill’s squad since September to keep himself in shape for a potential move but O’Neill was clearly impressed enough by the former Birmingham played that he thought he’d take the chance himself.
Upon the announcement that he was training with the Black Cats O’Neill said,
"It gives him an opportunity. One, to get as fit as he can now, which he has been doing for quite some weeks - he feels pretty good - two, to come and join the squad and three, just to try to get into the team,"
Now, it seems the striker has achieved his fitness objectives and will remain at the club at least until the end of the season.
The club released a statement confirming the signing but insisted it is only on a short-term contract.
The Glaswegian made only 7 appearance last year for Everton and although his 3-year spell at Birmingham was more successful – he helped them regain promotion to the Premier League in 2008 – he was released by Birmingham in 2011 after suffering damage to his anterior cruciate ligament in August 2010 which ended his season.
He has earned an impressive 48 international caps for Scotland and tallied 15 goals. He made his name at Motherwell where he won Scottish PFA Player of the Year in the 2002/03 season when he was just 20 years old.
Often utilized as a winger, McFadden will likely be used as cover for Steven Fletcher and Louis Saha. The former has sealed his place as the Black Cats’ first-choice up front and subsequently the latter has only featured in the first team on a handful of occasions so far this season.
McFadden will also have to contend with the likes of Frazier Campbell, Connor Wickham, and Ji Dong-Won. Winger James McClean is another on-form player for Sunderland – he’s scored 3 goals so far.
Sunderland face tough opposition away to Stoke on Saturday. Perhaps McFadden will get his first run-out for his new club. When he does, he will be keen to reignite his career and get back on track.
image: © Ronnie Macdonald