Plenty of SAFC tit-bits today!
Connor Wickham’s future at Sunderland must be something high on Gus Poyet’s agenda with last season’s survival star going into the last year of his contract. Keeping it that way would open ourselves up to cut-price bids which we might be forced to accept or risk him leaving for nothing. Not much has been said regarding it, but Wickham’s recent comments regarding his quest for first team football at the Stadium of Light and words of admiration towards Poyet are encouraging;
"Of course, we all want him to stay. Training is good, he is very down to earth, you can always talk to him. He is open to suggestions from players. He knows exactly what he wants and is very organised, it took us until the last five games of the season to show it."
During the same interview with the Independent, he was also very focused on the prospect of first team football – which was perhaps the same reason he chose Sunderland over Liverpool when he signed back in 2011. It makes it encouraging to think that perhaps he would not jump ship quite as readily as others would should a bigger team come in.
Craig Gardner’s move to West Brom was confirmed yesterday afternoon with the away fan signing a 3-year contract with the Baggies. In an interview shortly afterwards he was very keen to cite a move to the Midlands was what he craved, perhaps confirming rumours earlier in his Sunderland career that he simply wasn’t happy up here;
“It’s a pleasure to be here. It’s a great club. I’ve got a lot of friends here and I’m just buzzing that I’m back at home in the Midlands where I enjoy my football the most and feel I play my best football.
“I was linked with West Brom previously and I was just praying it happened this time. Now eventually it has I’m over the moon.
“People say you have to be happy at home to be happy in your job – and when you’ve got your friends and family around you encouraging and supporting you then that’s when you’ll play your best football.”
Reading between the lines perhaps this is acknowledgement that he just didn’t produce in red and white, whether he actually possesses the quality to improve after this move remains to be seen.
Jack Colback’s future remains under scrutiny at the moment and after Hull City’s interest was played down in the media yesterday, a new club altogether – Swansea – have been credited with an interest. Bored of writing about this to be honest so we’ll just leave it at that!
Another player’s future has been cast with a little doubt recently and that’s Nacho Scocco. Last season’s January signing has literally made just one neat flick since arriving on Wearside, so it isn’t exactly surprising that he is linked with a move away. Boca Juniors, from his home country of Argentina, and Olympiakos are reportedly interested but those reports also suggest the player himself is keen to remain at Sunderland.
It would be an easy way out for Scocco to join clubs in countries he has been successful in previously. So, if he does want to stay, it’s an encouraging sign about his character and ambition. He’s barely been here four months so the jury is still out on whether he has what it takes to make it in the Premier League. You would suspect next season will be make or break but after all them canny YouTube videos let’s hope he can produce some magic in the big time.
Forgotten flop Cabral is also due back after his loan period with Genoa has ended. He started just four games in Italy but the spell was, in parts, blighted by injury. The Echo report he is set to go through pre-season with us before deciding on his future and, if that’s the case, will have a small window of opportunity for reviving his career here. Not holding my breath.
There is a quite tentative link with Inter Milan’s McDonald Mariga whom we were linked with back in December. The Kenyan-born defensive midfielder, signed by Jose Mourinho, has announced his intentions to leave the Serie A outfit and is reportedly keen on a Premier League move, with Southampton (where his cousin Victor Wanyama currently plays) also supposedly keen. It sounds pure speculation to me although you can never categorically rule anything out. Another for the 'Reeto If You Say So' pile.
A defensive midfielder might be on the cards, but it depends where Gus Poyet wants to play Lee Cattermole – be it as the holding midfielder or a little further up the pitch. You would have to say the priorities must surely be elsewhere.
Any thoughts on today's rumours? Leave us a comment below!