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May 2016

Sunderland AFC transfer roundup: The heavily linked

Sam Allardyce wants signings and the Black Cats have recently been linked heavily with a few different players, but who are they?

The summer transfer news and rumours are getting hotter even though the Barclays Premier league season finished just a few weeks ago.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce will work alongside Chairman Ellis Short to strengthen in different areas over the summer, as well as bringing in cover for the 2016/17 season.

Fans have expressed a desire for Allardyce to bring in a ball winning midfielder, wide player, striker, centre back and full back. There may even be demand for other areas to be strengthened if the successful loan signings of Yann M’vila and Deandre Yedlin are to return to their parent club permanently.

Rumour has it that Yedlin will be available from Tottenham Hotspur for £2 million pounds. M’vila is reportedly keen on joining the Black Cats, but will have to take a wage cut from his current wage of £100,000 a week at Russian club Rubin Kazan.

Two heavily linked players

Both James Morrison and Neven Subotic have been linked heavily with Sunderland AFC over the past week.

Morrison, aged 30, is available on a free from West Bromwich Albion. The Scotland international has scored 28 goals in his nine-year stint at the Midlands side. The Darlington born central midfielder will attract attention from a range of clubs despite not having played since January after suffering a ruptured hamstring in a game against Chelsea.

Serbian International Subotic has also attracted a range of interest from clubs, including Liverpool and Stoke City. Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp has worked with the centre back before in his time at Borussia Dortmund. The 27-year-old has played for the German side for eight years and will most likely be moved on this summer.

Subotic

Other Key Areas to Strengthen

Allardyce will look to bring in players capable of taking Sunderland away from their annual relegation fight and also replacements for the large amount of players being shown the exit door. The Black cats have recently linked with Polish winger Kamil Grosicki, who is currently on international duty with Poland, in preparation for their Euro 2016 campaign. The 27-year-old is reportedly on the transfer shortlist of different Premier league clubs after he expressed his ambition to play in the English top tier. He told reporters: ‘’To play in the English league is the dream of every footballer.” The player is currently contracted to French Ligue 1 side Stade Rennaisbut admits he has a harboured ambition to play in the Premier League.

07.09.2015 POLSKA - GIBRALTAR ELIMINACJE MISTRZOSTW EUROPY UEFA EURO 2016 PILKA NOZNA

Transfer window roundup: Week one. 

Sunderland will have a massive summer ahead of them under Sam Allardyce and will hope to get in some new faces as well as keeping some familiar ones. 

Over the next few weeks and months of pre-season and the lead up to the start of the new 2016/17 season, I’ll be bringing you weekly roundups of the latest transfer gossip, fixture news and reports on pre-season games, so stay tuned!

Starting with players who will most likely be offloaded, players such as: Seb Larsson, Billy Jones, Adam Matthews, Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley, Jordi Gomez, Seb Coates, Santiago Vergini, Emanuele Giacherrini, Danny Graham, Steven Fletcher, Charis Mavrias, Wes Brown and finally Steve Harper. All these players will be most likely offloaded, accumulating in around £700,000 off the wage book. Ola Toivonen and Dame N’doye will be leaving to return to their parent clubs.

Two players the Black Cats will look to keep at the club after successful loan spells include Yann M’vila and Deandre Yedlin.

M’vila is reportedly keen on staying on Wearside and the club feels similar, however, the Frenchman is currently on £100,000 a week at his parent club Rubin Kazan, and will need to take a pay cut in order to join Sunderland on a permanent deal.

After many fans initially thought Deandre wouldn’t be available on a permanent deal from Tottenham in the summer, rumour has it that the American international will be available for around two or three million pounds.

Speculation around Jeremain Lens’ future still remains the same with many fans saying he’s a top player but simply doesn’t have the work rate required to have a cemented place in next years squad.

So that’s the familiar faces, but what about those fresh new transfers who have been linked. Below is a list of players Sunderland have been linked with, whether it be heavily or just spoke about loosely.

Goalkeepers:

Antonio Adan – Real Betis

Alexander Menay – Nancy

Full Backs:

Jeremy Pied – Nice

Lamine Gassama – Lorient

Charlie Taylor – Leeds

Centre Backs:

Steven Caulker – QPR

Micah Richards – Aston Villa

James Tomkins – West Ham

Terence Kongolo – Feyenoord

Midfielders:

Clement Chantome – Bordeaux

James Morrison – West Brom

Strikers:

Benjamin Moukandjo – Lorient

Andre Ayew – Swansea

Bafetimbi Gomis – Swansea

Martin Braithwaite – Toulouse

Wissam Ben Yedder – Toulouse

Nakhi Wells – Huddersfield

Stay tuned for more in depth analysis of players heavily linked over the summer. This list will continue to be updated as more players are linked or told they won’t be moving from their current clubs.

REPORT: Watford 2-2 Sunderland

Sunderland drew 2-2 away to Watford but were denied two legitimate goals by referee Kevin Friend.

Jack Rodwell put the visitors 1-0 up and Duncan Watmores goal was then denied for an apparent offside to make it two. Sebastian Prodl made it 1-1 but Jeremain Lens scored moments later to put the Black Cats ahead.

Two calamitous decisions came from Kevin Friend when Dame N’doye’s goal was denied for offside and then a penalty was given for a ‘foul’ by John O’shea. Troy Deeney scored from the spot to make it 2-2.

Sunderland were already safe after winning at home against Everton last Wednesday evening.


Sunderland started the game with Rees Greenwood and Tommy Robson in the eleven. Both players had solid games on their full debuts and can be really proud of their efforts.


Sam Allardyce made nine changes from Wednesdays game. Deandre Yedlin and Lamine Kone remained in the side.

Dame N’doye held the ball up well but lacked composure in front of goal, although he did score with a diving header which was un-rightfully disallowed. Jeremain Lens netted a goal and also set up the first for Rodwell. Jeremain clearly has ability but his work-rate separates him from being a regular fixture in the Sunderland first eleven. Watmore was Sunderland’s best player on the pitch today, providing width to every counter attack. Kone and O’shea played well but the Kone without Younes Kaboul didn’t look as steady on the ball and had spells when he looked nervy. Whether or not that was the unfamiliar partnership alongside O’shea or the fact he had played three games in just over a week both him and Kaboul will most likely be the two at Centre Half next season.

So that’s another season over and done with and Sunderland fans can’t have asked for a better end to it. Unbeaten in six and losing just once in the last 11, and that loss coming to the new champions, Leicester City.

Survival has been key and we’ve done exactly that but it’s going to be important to push on and away next year from the annual relegation battle in the 2016/17 season. Fans find themselves saying: ‘next year is going to be different’ every year but many will truly believe under Sam Allardyce it is.

Stay tuned for my blog posts throughout the Summer for transfer news and all things Sunderland.

I’ll be out in France for the month cheering on England and will be hoping to write some content on my time out there.

Thanks to everyone who has read and shared my content this season!

Ha’way the lads!

PREVIEW: Watford vs Sunderland 

Sunderland can travel to Vicarage Road for the last game of the season knowing their Premier league status is safe.

The Black Cats can field a weakened side and fans can sit back and relax, but both sides who have nothing to play for, will still hope to end the season with a win.

Team News

Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce has stated he will be promoting some of the under 21 side into the first team. The Black Cats have no fresh injuries but will probably rest players after a long old season.

Watford will want to give Quique Sanchez Flores a god send off as the manager is leaving at the end of the season. Valon Behrami and Etienne Capoue remain on the sidelines with rib and knee injuries respectively.


This is the Sunderland Lineup id play to give youngsters and fringe players a run out in the last game of the season. I’d still start Defoe as an England call up has been talked about after Welbeck was injured against Manchester City. However, I’m unsure as to whether or not Jermain has travelled down South with the squad.

I’d predict Watfords lineup to be filled with youngsters who aren’t regulars alongside fringe players, but it wouldn’t surprise me if they had a strong side out.

It would be brilliant to see some of the youngsters have a real go and come out with the win come Sunday Evening.

Ha’way the lads!

REPORT: Sunderland 3-0 Everton

Sunderland smash Everton to secure Premier league survival for another year whilst Newcastle and Norwich are relegated.

Defender Lamine Kone struck twice from close range after Patrick van Aanholt scored with a 25-yard free-kick that was misjudged by keeper Joel Robles.

Victory capped an impressive revival by Sam Allardyce’s side, who have lost only two of their past 13 games.
Allardyce will be able to take his side to Watford on Sunday unburdened by the relegation fears that have surrounded the club since his appointment in October.

Big Sam will be able to take his side to Watford on Sunday unburdened by the relegation fears that have surrounded the club since his appointment in October.

                                                                   Sam the savior


Sunderland’s season has been built on a few key moments, all contributing to their survival in the end.

  • Allardyce appointed after Dick Advocaat steps down. Advocaat stated the team didn’t have enough to stay in the league.
  • The January transfer window came around and four signings were made. Wahbi Khazri, Jan Kirchoff and Lamine Kone have all been revelations and Allardyce must be praised for these signings. Dame N’doye hadn’t contributed as much as fans would have wished but he did score once at home.
  • It’s not always been plain sailing, especially in the back end of 2015 when the Black cats were on a five-game losing streak. But since February the team has bee consistent in its setup, fight and intent on not losing.

                                                              Man of the match

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The man of the match award was given to Lamine Kone on Wednesday but for me it’s an award which should be torn in half and split between the two Sunderland Centre backs.

Both Kone and Younes Kaboul were outstanding against Everton and Kaboul may have won the motm award without Kone getting his brace.

The pair have been rock solid in the heart of defence since Kone signed in January and have played a massive part in the Black Cats survival.

The statistics 

  • Sunderland have extended their Premier League stay to 10 consecutive seasons, last playing outside the top flight in 2006-07.
  • Sunderland were in the relegation zone for 237 days this season but have survived; Aston Villa will have been in the relegation zone 233 days by the end of the season.
  • The Black Cats have scored four goals directly from free-kicks in the Premier League this season, joint highest with Chelsea and West Ham.
  • This was the first time that two Sunderland defenders have scored in the same game since December 2013 (John O’Shea and Phil Bardsley v Chelsea).
  • Sunderland have named the same starting XI for the last seven games, something they had never done before in the Premier League.

The table with one game to go

                                                                          What next?

I plan on making a full breakdown of what our plans should be for next season in a blog post after Watford on Sunday but for now here’s a couple of points.

Sunderland manager Sam Allardyce admitted he had doubts about the club’s chances of survival following a 6-2 loss at Goodison Park in November and then a run of five defeats at the end of 2015.

“Recruitment is going to be absolutely massive this summer, finding the right players, finding really hungry players with a lot of quality,” said Allardyce.

I totally agree with what Sam says and this Summer is going to be massive to stop this club facing the annual relegation battle like it has done for the past three or four years.

First though it’s a trip to Watford on Sunday in the last game of the season!

Ha’way the lads!

 

PREVIEW: Sunderland vs Everton

Sunderland welcome Everton to the stadium of light knowing a win ensures their safety.

Another sell out crowd is expected as Sunderland look to capture Premier league safety for another year; which would also send local rivals Newcastle United and Norwich City down to the Championship.

The form

Sunderland are coming off the back of an excellent performance and a massive three points against Chelsea last Saturday. The Black Cats have only lost once in nine games and that loss came to newly crowned champions Leicester City.

Everton however, have won just once in their last nine attempts; losing five and drawing three.

Team news and injuries

Sunderland defender Lamine Kone will be fit to start tonight after picking up a knock in his last match. Billy Jones remains the only absentee to the Sunderland squad.

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My predicted lineup remains the same as it has for the past few weeks now. Apart from the fact that Sunderland played only a few days ago against Chelsea, Black cats boss Sam Allardyce has no reason to change the squad, especially in the penultimate game of the season.

Unfortunately for Everton, they have been hit with an injury ridden season. Seamus Coleman and Gareth Barry could return after a spell out the side for both. Ramiro Funes Mori is available for selection after being sent off for a horrible tackle on Divock Origi in the Merseyside derby last month.

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Funes Mori will no doubt go straight back into the Everton side to pair with John Stones. I can’t see Coleman being risked with Everton having nothing but pride to play for. Kevin Mirralas will most likely play after his goal against Leicester at the weekend.

It’s going to be important for the players to guard against complacency tonight against an Everton side who may have had a hit and miss season, but have a good bunch of players who can easily punish you if switched off. I don’t think Allardyce will allow all of our hard work to be undone from the Chelsea game last weekend.

The fans are going to play another massive part in the game tonight and it’s important for everyone to get behind the lads. One thing I’ve noticed is the amount of supporters who tend to leave the stadium ten minutes before the 90, no matter what the score is. I understand people may have to leave for different reasons but the amount who do is inexcusable. My message to you fans who have a habit of doing this is just to stay in your seats and get behind the players. Let’s create a similar atmosphere to Saturday and do all we can to ensure we remain safe from relegation.

Ha’way the lads!

  • Referee: Anthony Taylor 
  • Expected Attendance: Sell out 

REPORT: Sunderland 3-2 Chelsea

An inspiring Sunderland beat Chelsea and climbed out of the relegation zone in the Barclays Premier League penultimate weekend.

Diego Costa riggled through the Sunderland back line and curled his effort into the far corner.

Wahbi Khazri’s right footed volley was a contender for goal of the season.

Nemanja Matic scored moments before the break leaving Sunderland fearing the worst.

Fabio Borini leveled proceedings and Defoe grabbed the Black Cats all three points within the space of two minutes.

John Terry was sent off in the final few minutes after receiving a second yellow card for a nasty challenge on Khazri.

                                                           

The Current Tableimg_1487
The Barclays premier league table now makes good reading for all Sunderland fans after securing all three points. Newcastle were held to a goalless draw away to Aston Villa and Norwich were beaten in the early kick off at home to Manchester United. A Sunderland win at home to Everton on Wednesday would ensure their safety.

                                                                      

The Stats
Efficiency is the word to use when looking for a way to sum up Sunderlands performance. The Black cats converted three of their four shots on target and made good use of the little amount of possession they could have, which is expected against a top side like Chelsea.

Man of the match: Vito Mannone
Yesterdays unsung hero was goalkeeper Vito Mannone. The Italian – who has came under some scrutiny in recent weeks – put the doubters to rest, when he made several game winning saves, the stand out being when Costa looked certain to score only when being denied by Mannone who made himself as big as possible.

There were a few potential man of the match candidates in match winner Defoe, Jan Kirchoff, Borini and Khazri. I conducted a Twitter poll to see who people thought deserved man of the match.

People were undecided between both Borini and Defoe, most likely down to the two goals between them.

A sell out crowd helped the home side towards the three points yesterday. It was revealed that the noise when Defoe scored Sunderland’s third goal, was the loudest the Stadium of Light has ever seen, and there’s been some special occasions and goals since its opening in 1997.

People will continue to sing Defoe’s praises and rightly so as without him it’s not worth thinking about as to where we would be right now. But the one thing I’ve began to notice since the win against Norwich City, is that this team have a real unity. Yes Jermain Defoe scores goals which is exactly what we expect of him, but each player does their individual jobs to enable the likes of Defoe to have an opportunity to score those goals and most importantly we play like an actual team.

Another pleasing factor was the impact of Wahbi Khazri. I was critical of him prior to the game in my preview, saying he has been ineffective in recent weeks and Sam Allardyce should consider dropping him, but he proved me wrong, and I love being proved wrong when it comes to Sunderland. He scored an excellent goal but not only that, he worked back for the team to do the ugly side of things.

Praise has to be heaped onto Allardyce who changed the formation from 4-3-3 when we were 2-1 down, into a flat 4-4-2 with Borini going upfront to pair with Defoe, Duncan Watmore going onto the right wing, Sebastian Larsson coming on and the experienced John Oshea who came on for Lamine Kone,who seemed to pick up a knock. The changes worked instantly when Borini and Defoe scored two in two minutes.

The job isn’t quite done yet though, it’s important for the team to remain focused on the game in hand against Everton on Wednesday, knowing a win secures safety.

The fans also have another job to do on Wednesday and that’s to get behind the team in the same fashion they did yesterday.

Ha’way the lads!!

PREVIEW: Sunderland vs Chelsea

Sunderland play Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on Saturday in front of an expected sell out crowd.

The home side take on an in form Chelsea who will have great momentum after denying local rivals Tottenham the title on Monday evening.

Sunderland will also go into the game with extra confidence after snatching a late point against Stoke city last week.

The Black cats will look to get at least a point which would set them up nicely for the game in hand they have at home to Everton next Wednesday. Relegation rivals Newcastle will most likely beat Aston Villa away from home, although as it is Villas’ last home game of the season, they may want to put on a show for the small amount of fans who turn up inside the ground. Not to forget Norwich City, who sit just one point behind Sunderland and two points behind Newcastle. Norwich also with a game in hand, which means they certainly aren’t out the race just yet.

Latest team news and predicted XI’s

Sunderland go into Saturdays game with just one injury doubt after Billy Jones picked up a hip injury earlier in the week. Allardyce hinted he may change the side in his latest interview for the clubs YouTube channel. He said: “We missed a trick with the possession side of thing against Stoke City. We didn’t perform and function as well as we should have done and I will be working on that side of the game to break down a very good Chelsea side.” Maybe a change of formation and or Personnel for the Black Cats?

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Although Sam has made comments about potential team changes, I do think the team will remain the same. I think if any team changes were to happen, it may be Watmore for Khazri who hasn’t been brilliant although also hasn’t done a lot wrong. I also think the fact we now have three games remaining, the change of team may have happened earlier to form a consistent lineup.

Chelsea come off the back of Mondays draw with Tottenham, which incidentally gifted the title to Leicester City…Yes I know that still sounds slightly weird, with Thibaut Courtois possibly returning and Eden Hazard likely to start after a stunning late equaliser against Spurs.

Opinion

So here we are back again for another chapter in the relegation dog fight, this time against Chelsea who unfortunately have hit some form. I really think this match this weekend is going to determine our future in this league. Yes we have the game in hand at home to Everton next week but the reality is we could be relegated that night if results don’t go our way, which they most likely wont. Newcastle play Aston Villa at Villa park and I have been trying to convince myself all week that this is going to be a hard game for Newcastle, but I think its Naive of me to insinuate Aston Villa and their players are going to attempt to gain all three points, especially with the supposed lack of fans who are in attendance. Everyone seems to have written Norwich off and I agree its going to be tough for them to salvage a late survival, but with a win at home to Manchester United tomorrow in the early kick off, it heaps massive pressure on both North East sides to get something from their games. They also have a game in hand on Newcastle.

I agree with Allardyce when he hints at team changes. I think it would be a good idea for us to change the system especially and maybe one or two changes of personnel. The formation works well away from home when we can sit back and defend but it is important to have a real go at Chelsea on Saturday as they are expert at breaking teams down and playing balls in between the lines, even though they haven’t shown it all this season. Jermain Defoe hasn’t scored at home since January and it’s going to be important for us to get him in the game and not isolated against two physical defenders, but at the same time not leave the back door open for Chelsea to score. However, its one thing Allardyce saying he is thinking about team changes and its another thing doing so, in my opinion I don’t think he will change it.

An important factor for Saturday is going to be the bumper crowd expected inside the stadium. It’s going to be massively important for every single person inside the Stadium of light to get right behind the eleven men on that pitch no matter who they are. The next seven days in this relegation story will no doubt have one or two twists left within it. Keep fighting until the end, Ha’way the lads!

FIVE THINGS WE’VE LEARNT: Stoke City 1-1 Sunderland

Jermain Defoe rescued Sunderland a Vital point with a 94th minute penalty against Stoke.

Sunderland had a penalty shout for handball waved away on the 30th minute when a Deandre Yedlin cross clearly hit Geoff Cameron on the arm.

Peter Crouch seemed to foul Younes Kaboul when heading the ball down for Marko Aurnautovic to volley past a helpless Vito Mannone.

Defoe squandered his chance six yards out when his right footed Volley was fired over the bar.

As news filtered in of a Newcastle win, Yann M’vila played a ball into the feet of Defoe who was clearly fouled by Cameron. Defoe slapped his penalty into the bottom right corner.

A poor performance from Sunderland but as Allardyce said “A brilliant point in the end!”

    What does the current table look like? 


Newcastle sit one point above Sunderland but the Black Cats have a game in hand. Norwich also have a game in hand but I do feel it’s going to be a two horse race between the two North East clubs now. Sunderland have two massive home games to Chelsea on Saturday and Everton (game in hand) midweek. Newcastle play Aston Villa away which was where they were most recently relegated back in the 2008/09 season.

What did we learn from the trip to the Britannia? Or the Bet365 stadium as its soon to be…

1. Sunderland were poor…But still picked up a point.

At this stage of the season it’s all about results and not necessarily performance. A point rescued away to Stoke City in the 94th minute, yes…But it’s a point and that could be the difference between staying up and going down. The team never stopped fighting and made it happen.

2. Jermain Defoe to the rescue!

Pundits, journalists, fans, you name it; they’ve all said the key to Sunderland’s survival is going to be number eight on the premier league all time scorers list. With 14 goals in the premier league this season, the black cats would probably be relegated now. Looking back, a straight swap for Jozy Altidore might have just been the best bit of business Sunderland have done in the past four or five years! It’s important for Defoe to continue his goal-scoring form into the three cup finals ahead.

3. Dame N’doye is still the second worse striker we’ve had after Jozy Altidore.

As much as I wanted the signing of N’doye to work, it really hasn’t. Apart from the one goal he’s scored at home, it’s fair to say Dame hasn’t quite set the world alight. His performance against Stoke on Saturday really was below par and he was lucky to finish the game after coming off the bench.

4. Wahbi Khazri to start the next game on the bench?

It’s fair to say Khazri has been very ineffective over recent games. He’s known for his set pieces and apart from the odd one, they really haven’t been great. Maybe Wahbi just needs that one season to adapt his game. Duncan Watmore is a candidate to start ahead of Khazri in Saturday’s game.

5. Three games to make it happen.

It’s now or never, three cup finals to keep Sunderland AFC in the Barclays Premier League. It’s in our hands and that’s the good thing, but we have to show the fighting spirit we’ve shown over the past few years to keep this club where it belongs.

As always, lets do what we always do and get right behind the lads come three o’clock Saturday afternoon. Ha’away the lads!!

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