When United signed Clayton Donaldson very close to the end of the August transfer window, I remarked in this column that back in 2011 I had hoped United might sign him from Crewe. Instead, he went to Brentford and we got Chris Porter.
So, despite his age, I was delighted we had signed him, especially as he didn’t cost much. A late starter in professional football, Clayton’s 33 years were more equivalent to 29.
The Birmingham Mail described the fee as “nominal”. As usual, however, Chris Wilder got straight to the point after Clayton’s two debut goals at Sunderland, likening his new purchase to something acquired from a low-cost supermarket chain, when he said: “Not bad for 50 grand that, is it? Not bad from Aldi.”
As it has transpired, a player who couldn’t get into a struggling City team (perhaps Harry Redknapp didn’t think this down-to-earth Yorkshireman was exotic enough for his grand plan, whatever that was) is now scoring pretty often for a team challenging for promotion.
None of his five goals have been simple either. Although two of them were handed to him on a plate by dawdling defenders at Villa and Norwich, he still had to keep his cool and put the ball in the net from a tight angle, one from each side of the goal. For the one at Villa he drilled the ball into the far corner, for the one at Norwich he slid precisely it into the far corner.
Then when you think about his first goal at Villa and his double at Sunderland, Clayton has a claim to be the best finisher at the club. If you look at how much some other strikers in the Championship cost and work out a cost per goal, you’ll see that Clayton’s this season have cost £10,000 each. On the other hand, Jordan Rhodes’ league goals have cost £2,000,000 each and Britt Assombalonga’s £1,250,000. I know where I’d rather do my shopping.