Victor Anichebe turned down “very attractive” offers from around the world to join Sunderland because he has unfinished business in the Premier League, writes Richard Mennear.
The 28-year-old, who joined on a free after his release from West Bromwich Albion, insists he has nothing to prove to anybody else – only himself.
And the 6ft 3in frontman says he wasn’t ready to turn his back on the top flight, just yet, as he looks to help transform Sunderland’s season.
“I was so close to going abroad, I wanted a change, but then the manager came in here and this was a good opportunity to stay in England and in the Premier League for another year,” said Anichebe, who is fit again after a groin injury.
“There were a lot of offers to go all these kinds of places, crazy offers in different countries but sometimes money is not always everything.
“The way I left West Brom, I didn’t really want to leave without playing.
“I knew a long time before I left I was going to see out my contract and wanted to see the next opportunity.
“So, I took a long time to decide what I wanted to do.
“I knew about Sunderland and the manager and a couple of other English teams, there was a lot of interest in the Championship too, lower teams in the Premier League too and offers from abroad.
“Some of them were very attractive. I like travelling and experiencing new things so maybe that is something I will look forward to in future.
“But at this present moment in time I just thought Sunderland is a really good club, I have been to this training ground and the stadium a lot.
“It is a really good club and I want to try and help as much as I can and hopefully it can be a successful year from now on,” added Anichebe ahead of Saturday’s bottom of the table clash at Stoke City.
Anichebe has never been the most prolific of strikers but he is a handful for defenders on his day.
He scored 26 goals for Everton in 74 starts and 94 substitute appearances before leaving to join West Brom for £6million in 2013, where he managed nine goals in 64 appearances.
“You always see flashes of what I can do, it is never as consistent as I would like it to be, mainly because of injury,” added Anichebe.
“Last year I had a great game against Newcastle and then got injured and it sets you back four weeks.
“Then time has gone by. These aren’t excuses, it is just a fact.
“Mentally it can be difficult but I am so strong mentally now that those things don’t bother me now. Things happen in life, you adjust and move on.
“That is what I have tried to do. I have something to prove to myself. I don’t have anything to prove to anybody else, I always know that.
“It is always to myself and that is another reason why I didn’t want to just pack up and leave just yet.
“You don’t know what the future holds next year and we will see what happens but this is where I am concentrating on.”