Sunderland’s apparent links with FC Copenhagen striker is hardly the stature of rumour likely to hold anyone’s attention for too long. A relative unknown from one of the continent’s secondary leagues apparently interesting a club renowned for their ability to splurge all-too-rare transfer funds on bafflingly wasteful centre-forwards. Jozy Altidore, Jeremain Lens, Danny Graham, the list goes on.
Wouldn’t it be so typically Sunderland, then, to break the bank for a striker for whom even one hefty barn door would prove a target to elusive. £31 million is apparently what’s required to bring Santander to the Stadium of Light, as reported by the Sunderland Echo.
You’d expect one of two things for a price tag of that magnitude; either an established, top level centre forward with a proven prolific streak in one of Europe’s top leagues, or a prodigious youngster, world-class-in-waiting, promising an eye-watering sell-on fee. A quick scour of the stats, however, suggests Santander is neither.
At 25, he is possibly already at his peak. His goalscoring rate since his arrival at Copenhagen at the start of last season reflect this. But does 14 goals in 40 league appearances in the second-rate world of Danish football really go hand in hand with a £31 million striker? If Andrej Kramaric, then heavily linked with Chelsea and Juventus, found goals hard to come by with Leicester City after 37 in 41 in Croatia, what chance Santander becoming more Kevin Phillips than Rade Prica (below)?
A record of one in six for Paraguay, one in 33 during spells with Tigre and Racing Club in Argentina, plus a distinctly average five in 23 during his other previous spell in the European game with Ligue 1 outfit Toulouse hardly has the hand plunging for the paycheque.
Of course, Santander may prove to be a Graziano Pelle-style late bloomer, turning the tables on the premature critics with a very respectable scoring streak in the English game. But are Sunderland, goal shy or not, really willing to risk £31 million on the hope that their prospective record signing would be anything other than a flop of legendary proportions? Judge for yourself: Santander is currently preparing for his big audition agaisnt Leicester City in the Champions League on Tuesday night.