Allardyce should recapture Bolton spirit and sign free agent Ronaldinho for Sunderland

Sam Allardyce Press Conference 12/02/2014

Should Sunderland sign the highest profile free agent on the market?

Sam Allardyce has an uphill battle to turn Sunderland's season around after a defeat to West Brom in his first game in charge.

The transfer window is several weeks away, but adding free agent players is still possible, and there is one name on the market with more glamour than any other... Ronaldinho.

The prospect of bringing the 35-year-old Ballon d'Or winner to Wearside sounds improbable, and it is, but if there is one manager stands a chance of convincing the Brazilian to make the move, Sam Allardyce could be the man.

Allardyce has a track record of unlikely signings early in his career at Bolton Wanderers. He brought in French World Cup star Youri Djorkaeff, who played three seasons at the club scoring more than 20 goals.

Jay-Jay Okocha was perhaps his biggest success, with the Nigerian international showcasing the skills which would have been suited to a Champions League side, in front of dazzled crowds at the Reebok.

Real Madrid defender Ivan Campo was a shrewd addition too, while Brazilian striker Jardel was an ambitious signing he managed to attract, only for the striker to prove not up to physical scratch to be of use.

There were hits and misses, but the star names provided an energy about the club which brought Allardyce success as he established Bolton as Premier League regulars.

At Sunderland he needs inspiration, and World Cup and Champions League winner Ronaldinho could do just that, having recently been released from his Fluminense contract by mutual consent.

"I still want to enjoy football. I am well and not thinking about retiring," he is reported to have told a press conference on Monday, reported Sambafoot, with offers from outside Brazil said to be on his radar.

The former Barcelona hero never did make it to play in the Premier League, and if Sunderland are looking for inspiration, Allardyce could chance his luck by giving it a shot - and making a ticket-shifting addition which could inspire the rest of his players to step up their game too.

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