Grant Leadbitter has left Middlesbrough to rejoin Sunderland. The midfielder left Wearside ten years ago after coming through the ranks. He is a boyhood Sunderland supporter, making his debut in 2003, leaving in 2009 to join Ipswich Town. He becomes Jack Ross’s second signing of the transfer window with the possibility of more to come.
Grant Leadbitter Back at Sunderland
Midfielder Leadbitter has signed a two-and-a-half-year contract after passing a medical on Monday. The 33-year-old will hopefully bring that extra quality to the midfield that Jack Ross has been searching for. He leaves Middlesbrough after playing 240 games since signing in 2012.
Surplus to Requirements
Leadbitter has failed to secure a place in the Boro side this season for league games, making just two appearances. However, he has featured in cup competitions. He was a regular last season, playing over 30 league games, but has become surplus to requirements under Tony Pulis.
Back at the Club He Supports
Leadbitter has had to take a wage cut to sign for his former club. However, the lure of a return to the club he supports made this no problem. He made his debut in 2003 under Mick McCarthy and went on to play over 120 appearances for the Black Cats. He left in 2009, following Roy Keane to Ipswich Town in a £2.65 million deal.
Age Not a Concern
Some supporters may raise concerns of Leadbitter’s age. However, even at 33-years-old, he played almost a full season of Championship football during 2017/18. Although he has struggled for game time this season, when he has played, he has been the best player on the pitch. His experience at Championship and Premier League level could prove invaluable at League One level as the Black Cats look for automatic promotion.
Attention Turns to a Striker
Manager Jack Ross is now expected to turn his full attention to signing at least one new striker. With Josh Maja leaving, Ross has just one out and out striker in Charlie Wyke. Several players have been linked and several bids have been rejected by Wigan for Will Grigg.