Former England international Jack Rodwell always looked likely to leave Manchester City during the summer of 2014, and following the arrival of Chelsea legend Frank Lampard on a loan deal, Sunderland were given the green light to make a move for the 23-year-old midfielder.
On Tuesday, the two parties came to an agreement, as announced by Sunderland's official Twitter:
Manchester City also confirmed the deal:
Rodwell moved to the Etihad Stadium in 2012 after showing much promise in his final two seasons with Everton. Widely regarded as one of England's brightest talents, the powerful midfielder was expected to challenge for playing time in the centre of the pitch right away.
A series of injuries hindered his development, however, and the duo of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho soon established an excellent central pairing, pushing Rodwell to the bench.
He was given only one Premier League start in 2013-14, as per WhoScored.com, and with his career on the line, a transfer move in search of more consistent playing time seemed to be the only option.
Sunderland have secured a fine talent, beating Southampton and Napoli in the process, according to the Daily Star's Harry Pratt. ITV's Kristan Heneage offered analysis of Rodwell joining the Black Cats:
Rodwell will be a very good signing for #SAFC. Long term target, keeping him fit remains the one barrier.— Kristan Heneage (@KHeneage) August 4, 2014
Rodwell's quality is undeniable, and the aforementioned injuries are the one thing currently slowing his career. Capable of shielding a defence with excellent physicality and contributing further up the pitch with relative ease, the former Everton midfielder should immediately become an integral part of Gus Poyet's starting XI.
Will Rodwell realise his potential at Sunderland?
The list of talented youngsters who had their careers derailed by injuries is a long one, but Rodwell wouldn't be the first to overcome the injury bug. A change of scenery could do wonders for his development and maybe even see him return to the England national team.
Poyet told reporters Sunderland were close to signing a number of players following their last friendly in Portugal, adding there would be some surprises: "There are plenty of things going on and I’m looking forward to things happening in the next few days, so it’s all positive. I think we have a great chance (of signing players), a great chance. People are going to be surprised, which is great. It’s all positive."
The Black Cats are hoping to improve on their performances in the 2013-14 season, which saw the club fight against relegation for most of the campaign. Adding a player with star potential, like Rodwell, will go a long way in avoiding a similar fate in 2014-15.
Sunderland are expected to continue adding to the squad during the remainder of the transfer window, but in Rodwell, they may have just made their marquee signing of 2014. If the midfielder can stay injury free, he should become the anchor of the Black Cats midfield very quickly.