The fact that James Vaughan remains best known for being the youngest goal-scorer in Premier League history screams loud and clear that his vast potential has gone unfulfilled.
12 years on from that record-breaking tap-in for Everton against Crystal Palace, the 28-year-old’s career has been dogged by injuries. Yet, whenever he is fit, he is usually firing.
Though it is fair to say Sunderland fans may be a little divided at the prospect of Vaughan being tasked with replacing the goals of Jermain Defoe as the club prepare for second tier football for the first time in a decade.
Injury prevented Vaughan from pushing on after a superb start to his career
The Shields Gazette report that The Black Cats have agreed a fee with League One club Bury for the striker. The fee is not yet disclosed though it is likely to be a six-figure sum with the Bury Times reporting that The Shakers were demanding Sunderland double their £500,000 offer.
However, it is tempting to see Vaughan’s impending arrival on Wearside as the clearest example of the restrictions limiting Sunderland in the transfer market.
Movers and Shakers
Their lack of funds is well established with former manager David Moyes frequently lamenting the debt-ridden club’s inability to bring in his top targets last season, instead forced to rely on short-term loans or free transfers.
And, so far this summer, Sunderland have only made two signings a number of players leaving on frees or departing with their loan deals expiring. And Tyias Browning and Brendan Galloway have not cost the club a penny, arriving on temporary deals from Everton.
Money is tight at Grayson's Sunderland
And though Vaughan enjoyed a superb 2016/17 season at Bury, scoring 24 league goals in the most prolific campaign of his career, it’s difficult to argue that he would have been a first choice option if they had more funds available.
Sunderland fans will be dreaming of an immediate return to the Premier League but it's difficult to envisage Vaughan firing them to the promised land.