January transfer window – The best in over a decade for Sunderland AFC
Posted by Paul David Sanderson | Published on February 23, 2016
As a Sunderland fan, transfer windows are not particularly exciting. It’s the same story every window, we sell decent players and replace them with low quality players who turn out to be deadwood. The club then tries to get our hopes up by buying a ‘star signing’ who also turns out to be a waste. We sign players on loan. Some turn out to be good signings and some don’t. The problem is that those who are good go elsewhere when the season is over. This is the usual routine at Sunderland. However, this transfer window was different.
The Big Sam effect
Unlike other transfer windows the manager was actually in charge. Prior to Allardyce signing, the ins and outs were handled with by Lee Congerton (Sporting Director). However, with Congerton gone and Allardyce as manager, it was left to him to deal with the club’s signings. With the experience of Allardyce, it was easy to feel confident that he would bring the right people through the door. Although I was feeling confident at the start, I cannot say that I was when it came to the half way stage of the window. The only players we had signed were N’Doye, Kirchhoff and ex Newcastle goalkeeper Steve Harper. As you can imagine, this was not very encouraging. It was time for Sam to act, and he did. In the next few days he brought in Wahbi Khazri and Lamine Kone, players that he described as ‘a perfect fit’. Plus, with the deadwood gone by the end of the window, we could see the impact that Big Sam has made to the club through how he has reacted through this window.
Jan Kirchhoff – Probably more well known for his FIFA 14 card rather than his ability. Signed from Bayern Munich for a low fee and looked to be a decent centre back. Tall, strong and a real aerial threat. His debut was not the most impressive. Came on against Spurs for the last few minutes and gave away a penalty as well as deflecting the ball into his own net. After scoring a great goal for the under 21s he came back ready to fight and so he did. In a holding midfielder role, he was perfect. Against Manchester City, Allardyce described his performance as ‘one of the best midfield performances all season’. This performance was replicated against Liverpool. But, as warned by many Bundesliga fans, he got injured.
Steve Harper – Good tutor for you Jordan Pickford and a decent 3rd choice if Mannone or Pickford pick up an injury.
Dame N’Doye – The ex Hull striker seems to be settling in quite nicely at the club. Started against Manchester United and came on as a sub against Liverpool. Had a great performance against United as a Man of the Match contender. Unlucky not to score in that match but held up play very well and seems like a good replacement for Adam Johnson who was recently sacked.
Lamine Kone – Already a fans favorite with the chant ‘Ole… Ole… Ole…. Kone Kone’. From making Yaya Toure eat grass to not officially scoring but we’ll count it anyways, Kone has shone since joining the black cats in January. He’s tall, very strong and can leap above the defenders like a Salmon from corners. He is just the perfect fit. In every match he has played he has put in 100% and has been a fantastic asset. With Younes Kaboul coming back in the next few weeks, the Sunderland defence looks to be in the best shape it has been in all season – that is excluding Billy Jones.
Wahbi Khazri – I remember before signing him I was watching a free kick that he scored against PSG in Ligue 1 and thinking ‘he looks like a great player’. So when we signed him I was delighted. It was a joy to see him play at the Stadium of Light. His skill and his set plays are just phenomenal. His team work with Defoe against Liverpool and with Kone against Manchester United was great to see. You look at the likes of Leicester and where team work and high morale has taken them. With Khazri and Kone the team morale has increased. With such a good player in our team I can see Sunderland staying up.
Will the signings continue to shine? Time will only tell. But one thing we know is that things are finally looking bright for the future at Sunderland AFC.