Thanks for the Memories Ric!By: joehigginson | January 21st, 2011
Some sad news this morning that Ricardo Fuller is to pack his bags for the North East after Sunderland secured his signature in a £3M deal. Ric signed from Southampton back in August 2006 and became an immediate fan favourite. He was one of the key components in our promotion winning year and has gone on to make a significant impact in the Premier League. He finished as our overall top scorer every season he was at the club, a sign of his quality. While his loyalty and temperament were occasionally called into question, I believe that for the first time in his career, Ric truly enjoyed his football while playing for the Potters. And while we knew that with his current form and injury problems this may have been his last season with us, the transfer still comes as something of a surprise. With Darren ‘I WANNA TO GO TO SUNDERLAND!’ Bent deserting and Danny Welbeck ruled out for eight weeks, the Black Cats are clearly looking for a stop gap player to prevent a striker shortage and help consolidate their current position. We know Fuller will give them that, and will add more physicality to a somewhat lightweight team.
So let’s look at the implications for our own club. Rumours have been rife since Christmas that there’s going to be a shakeup in our striking department. Here are three possibilities:
- Has Tuncay’s moment finally arrived? After some impressive performances in recent weeks, the penny looks to have finally dropped for Pulis of what a prodigious talent he has on his hands. Many thought his omission from the first team was due to his individualistic style being too out of touch within our regimented squad. Pulis himself has hinted in recent weeks that Tuncay has begun to understand the work ethic at the club. Was this the catalyst for his change of fortune? The only issue is that Tuncay is not an out and out forward. The system would have to change and dropping him in just behind Jones would most likely suit him best.
- Although there has been no official confirmation, the hole left by Ric’s departure will be immediately and snugly filled by Aston Villa’s John Carew, who looks set to join us on loan for the remainder of the season despite competition from WBA. If Fuller’s departure was indeed a sign of the clubs evolution, it seems strange to bring in a carbon copy player in his absence. For me, it stinks of a panic buy. Under Martin O’Neill, Carew put in some exceptional performances for the Villa but he’s wilted this year, unable to reproduce the form that made him an instant favourite amongst the Hoult-enders. At 31 years old, the move contradicts Pulis’s recent statements that he wants to make the average squad age younger. Something doesn’t quite add up and I’ll be very surprised if he’s still at the Britannia in August.
- While Tony Pulis and Dave Kemp have been ambivalent in recent weeks over whether Senegalese striker Demba Ba is coming to the club or not (in any capacity), I think the door may have finally shut. Having failed a medical (I didn’t realise this was actually possible), Pulis had hinted at signing him on a trial period only, an agreement that the player and his club Hoffenheim appeared to be considering. If Carew does complete his loan switch however, I think that will signal the end of our interest. Ba has seemingly severed the ties with Hoffenheim and there’s no way he’ll hang round until the summer, particularly with teams like West Ham waiting in the wings.
So farewell and best of luck for the future Ric, and I leave you with a link to one of his 48 goals for the Potters, and my personal favourite.