It looked like Jack Rodwell would be leaving Manchester City this summer, it was just a question of who would take the gamble on signing the English midfielder. Sunderland are the team who have now finally taken the plunge, and at £10m with the potential for a further £2m in added payments, it represents a sizable gamble for The Black Cats.
The upside of the deal is also sizable, though, Rodwell still has bags of potential and is still a very talented player capable of playing for the England national team. But recent history would suggest that Rodwell may never reach his undoubted potential due to the continuous injuries he picks up.
Rodwell has not left City because he was not good enough or because he was unable to reach the level of the foreign players already in the City squad, he’s been allowed to leave simply because he cannot stay healthy for long enough to adequately contribute. Rodwell has stated in the past that City have tried everything to cure his injury problems, with special car seats and special pillows being among the many tried and failed methods.
The desire to get Rodwell fit and onto the field was there on City’s side, but the physical fitness just wasn’t there for the player. Now, Sunderland will inherit a player of great potential, but also of great risk. But if Sunderland can get Rodwell fit for an extended period of time, then there is little doubt that the midfielder will be worth every penny of the price Sunderland are paying.
However, Rodwell’s injury record tells a worrying story with only 26 total appearances in all competitions to his name from his two years at City, with only seven of those coming in the starting lineup. City were ultimately a little short on central midfielders last season with Rodwell only managing to make five appearances in the Premier League, and then another five in alternate competitions. The stats make for disappointing reading, but clearly speak for themselves, and that is why the signing of Rodwell represents a huge gamble for Gus Poyet and Sunderland.