With our summer recruitment in full swing, signing number two Jordi Gomez was announced yesterday.
As a player with indifferent reputation, we spoke to Dan from Wigan blog site Jesus Was A Wiganer to ask him a few questions about our new Spaniard.
WAW: We have all heard of Gomez but perhaps our readers are not completely sure about the qualities hewill bring to the team, what would you say are his strengths?
Dan: I would describe Jordi as a reverse mirror, as when he plays well, so do those around him. But not only is that a clumsy metaphor, it's also doing him a mild disservice, as he has been a major source of creative energy for many (to be specific, five) seasons now. Look no further than the 2013 FA Cup Semi Final, in particular his perfectly weighted/waited ball through for Wigan's second goal. He has the ability to play the ball that leads to a near-unmissable chance.
I won't be popular by saying this, but one overlooked aspect of Gomez's game is his ability to win a foul - he is quite proficient at earning you a crucial free kick. Not that he is a diver, it's just that he is an expert at drawing fouls from misplaced legs. I should imagine it's pretty frustrating for opposition defenders. There, I said it!
WAW: What about his weaknesses?
Dan: Somewhat strangely, Gomez's strengths are simultaneously his failings on a bad day. Often there is no time to wait for the perfect through ball, and this will lead to some embarrassing dispossessions. It may be for this reason that Gomez earned an unjust reputation in his earlier seasons at the club, and there are those that will be overjoyed to see him leave. Pay no mind to them, however, because I get the feeling they're the type that would have preferred to see him chop the opposition down with kung fu kicks. You get those guys in Wigan, we're a truly multi-moan-cultural town.
WAW: Last season Gus Poyet played a three man midfield with one deep holding player, a box-to-box midfielder and one with a freeer role supported by a narrow, direct winger complimented by a more orthodox wide man on the otherside - where would you expect Gomez to fit in?"
Dan: Aha, that sounds a little bit like a Roberto Martinez strategy! Gomez invariably played in busy midfields under Roberto, so he should slot into the centre quite well, though that freer role would also suit him. Should he form chemistry with one or more of those wingmen, be prepared for the killer ball through to the touchline, allowing said winger to advance upon goal. It's quite spectacular when it works.
WAW: What about his reliability in terms of injuries and suspensions? I seem to remember him getting sent off against us (although rescinded if I remember correctly!)
Dan: Curiously, I have never seen Gomez sustain a genuine injury, so don't worry if it ever seems otherwise...
Hmm, that last sentence seems like foreshadowing - just watch him break his leg after that!
As for suspensions, I don't think Gomez is a particularly dirty player, though he doesn't have a completely clean copybook... as you alluded to! He can be a tough tackler when needed, so expect the odd yellow, maybe even a red. He isn't quite in the Lee Cattermould, but watch out for the odd shinbuster.
WAW: A lot is made of our tendancy to sign players from relegated teams who have promptedly flopped at Sunderland - should we be worried about his ability to handle the Premier League?"
Dan: Gomez has ample Premier League experience, so I wouldn't worry about him being unprepared. I will say that some teams --Premier League and otherwise-- do have him figured out, however. I don't want to alarm you, but I remember him struggling against Macclesfield in our FA Cup winning season (2013)!
Erm, best to forget I said that. I will say that Gomez is certainly a Premier League player, in his prime a conqueror of giants. High praise indeed.
WAW: Finally, do you think this a good signing for Sunderland?
Dan: In a word, yes. In many more...
I refer you back to that (slightly misguided) 'mirror' analogy - he is a playmaker, and often requires one or more others to oblige, to be on the same intergalactic wavelength. But when that happens, you'll see why he was many Wigan fans' favourite player. I think he has even managed to turn some of those hardcore Coyle-ite 'geddonwithit' blokes by now. I, for one, will certainly miss him.
Thanks to Dan for this interesting insight. It seems as though he will fit in perfectly with our system and could well add that bit of quality in and around the penalty area – something we desperately need. Whatever you might think about the 29 year-old, he is quite clearly an improvement on Craig Gardner and therefore an improvement to our squad.
What do you think about this signing? Leave us a comment below!