When Jack Ross arrived at the club, he inherited a squad that should have been more than capable of safely securing promotion back to the Championship- on paper at least.
Financial restrictions and sensible actions from Stewart Donald have enabled the budget to be cut by extreme amounts, as the club embarks on a new era of rebuilding from scratch. In total 30 players have left the Stadium of Light since the regime started in the summer of 2018. But, which players have found success in their career after a disappointing time in the north-east?
The Italian striker didn’t fail at the Stadium of Light in the same way as a lot of flops and can also claim match-winning goals against Newcastle United and Chelsea as high points following his £8 million move from Liverpool.
However, injury-plagued his form in the vital relegation season for the club; as he only scored two goals in 22 appearances, but he was clearly not at full fitness and was rushed back following knee surgery. Italian giants AC Milan saw something in the winger and loaned the player for a year before agreeing at £5 million transfer fee in the summer of 2018.
His career in Italy has seen Borini adjust to a host of new positions including central defence. He has become the ultimate utility player, and that has allowed him to play in 44 games for Milan.
The veteran defender went through all the hard times with Sunderland and was eventually sold for financial reasons in 2018. Fans can’t question his commitment to the cause, and was undoubtedly a fan favourite for the seven years he played at the Stadium of Light.
The professionalism of O’Shea and his love for the club were on full display when he agreed to take a significant pay cut to stay with the club once they were relegated into the Championship. His attitude towards playing for the club was everything that the fans could ask for, especially when comparing his commitment and desire for the club to outcast Jack Rodwell.
Upon Sunderland’s relegation to the third tier, the club decided that a fresh approach towards the team would be the best way back into the Championship. The emphasis was on youth, and the profile of 37-year-old O’Shea didn’t match that. He signed for Reading under the advice from David Meyler.
The five-time Premier League winner could be about to taste his third relegation in as many years with the Royals. However, the blame can’t be placed with the Irishman as injury has meant that he has only been able to play eight times in the Championship. Reading remains among most bookmakers’ favourites for relegation, and you can place one bet here for them to be playing the third tier next season.
When the defensive midfielder moved to Sunderland from Manchester City, there was a lot of hope that this was the kind of calibre of player that could elevate the club to new levels. At the time, he was one of the best young players in his position, and the £10 million transfer fee looked like a bargain.
However, the four years that followed epitomised all the problems that were there with not only the club but also modern football. He only played on two occasions for the club during the fateful Championship season and refused to help the club out by moving on or taking a pay cut.
Eventually, the club was able to offload the midfielder, and he was released almost immediately after the relegation to League 1 was confirmed. Two months after his release he was snapped up by Blackburn Rovers, and he has enjoyed a more fruitful season at Ewood Park.
He has appeared on 18 occasions for the club; which is the most amount of games he has played since the 2015-16 season. Rodwell has been a prominent fixture in the Blackburn team that has seen them sitting comfortably in mid-table with an outside chance of a playoff berth.