Sunderland were linked with numerous strikers in the January transfer window as they sought a replacement for Josh Maja.
After scoring 15 goals, Maja departed in January and joined French top division club Bordeaux. Among the strikers linked were League One duo Tom Eaves and John Marquis.
Sky Sports News reporter Keith Downie claimed that Sunderland had a late January bid of £1.25m turned down for Doncaster Rovers hitman Marquis.
Gillingham striker Eaves was also linked (as per reliable journalist Pete O’Rourke). But Sunderland landed neither player.
Instead, they signed Will Grigg, which appeared to be a coup at the time. But the Northern Ireland international has struggled to hit top form, scoring just four league goals in 18 games.
Meanwhile, Eaves and Marquis continue to impress. Both players notched goals on the final day of the season; Eaves struck twice away at Blackpool while Marquis’ goal confirmed a play-off finish for Doncaster.
Eaves finishes the season with 22 goals in 50 games. The 27-year-old is a towering and physical target man and his tally eclipses like-for-like Sunderland striker Charlie Wyke, who has four goals to his name.
Marquis’ final-day goal against Coventry City confirmed Doncaster’s top-six finish and took his tally to 25 in 52 games.
The 26-year-old is in much better form than Grigg going into the play-offs and Sunderland will be hoping their missed transfer does not come back to haunt them.