With new owners, new manager, new staff and players coming and going, it is an eventful time on Wearside. The past week has been no exception. More new players arrived and the clear out continues to gather pace. This Sunderland recap takes a look back at yet another eventful week for the Black Cats.
Early last week Sunderland jetted off to a Portugal training camp to prepare for their upcoming friendlies and the season ahead. Even with this being the case, work did not stop on comings, goings and all things Sunderland related.
An Eventful Week on Wearside
Players on Their Way Out?
Two weeks ago Sunderland finally said goodbye to Jack Rodwell. Paddy McNair also left to join Middlesbrough. Last week saw no players leave but the departures of certain players are gathering pace.
Wahbi Khazri looks certain to leave sooner rather than later. French clubs Rennes and Saint-Etienne have been battling it out for his signature. However, it appears that the latter are winning the race to sign the Tunisian international. They are set to pay the Black Cats €7 million, rising to €10 million with add-ons.
Lamine Konè returned to training but is set to leave after being left behind as the rest of the squad went to Portugal. He has reportedly advised the club that he doesn’t want to play for the club again. Although they don’t necessarily need to sell, Sunderland will want the defender off their books now as soon as possible.
Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong have not returned to training in an attempt to push through transfers for themselves. Turkish side Trabzonspor are believed to want both players. However, at this stage, they do not want to pay a fee for either. This will not go down well with Sunderland and is sure to be rejected.
Djilobodji cost £8 million and Ndong £13.6 million. Sunderland are realistic enough to know they will not get their money back on either but will want something. A bid of £6.6 million was accepted from Torino for Ndong but the deal fell through after the Italian club were unable to agree on personal terms.
More Players Arrive
Three new players were added taking the number of new signings up to seven. Alim Ozturk, Chris Maguire, Tom Flanagan and Jon McLaughlin were all signed two weeks ago. This past week three further players joined the Black Cats. Here is a look at the Black Cats new additions.
Ex-Manchester United left-back James has signed a one-year deal after leaving Wigan Athletic. The defender played 28 times last season, helping the Latics to promotion from League One. He has a wealth of experience in England’s third tier having helped Wigan to promotion twice from that league.
Arrived from Hibernian, the midfielder was their player of the year last season. McGeouch had offers to stay at Easter Road and to join Aberdeen. However, Sunderland got their man. The ex-Celtic player signed on a free transfer after his contract expired with Hibs at the end of last season.
Youngster Hunter has signed to bolster the development squad. The teenage midfielder was signed on a free transfer having left Liverpool. He will be hoping to impress this season in the development squads with a view of eventually pushing for a place amongst the first team.
Not a Backward Step
It has been suggested that Sunderland’s new signings may have taken a step backwards, thoughts not shared by the players. New goalkeeper Jon Mclaughlin said: “I certainly don’t see moving back to League One, at this club anyway, as a backwards step in any shape or form. There were opportunities to go to different clubs in higher divisions but this is a huge football club and so in that respect, I don’t see it as a backward step at all”
Bet exchange brand BETDAQ were confirmed as the new sponsors late last week. They will replace Dafabet on the new kits this season. Their commercial director Tom Sloanes is a life-long Sunderland fan and helped to set the deal up. “As a fan, I can see that there is so much positivity around the club at the moment and it’s great to be part of that.
“This partnership provides us with the perfect opportunity to further enhance our growing sports portfolio and we look forward to playing our part in what we all hope will be a great season for Sunderland AFC”.
New Strip Announced
After the new sponsor was announced, it didn’t take long for the strip to be shown off. To the delight of many, the thin stripes from last season have gone. The new home shirt will have the traditional, thicker, famous red and white stripes. The home top will be accompanied by black shorts and socks. The away strip is all black with a red trim.
Pinks Seats on Their Way Out
Last but by no means least, fans were pleased to hear that the seats that had faded to a pink colour would finally be replaced. New white seats would also be installed making the Stadium of Light truly red and white.