Robert Simmons chips in the from the other side of the pond with his own thoughts on the news that Stéphane Sessegnon is going nowhere …
Guilty. I have to admit that I have been a cynic.
I was convinced that we had, at the most, one year left with our beloved Benin international Stéphane Sessegnon.
With two years to go on his contract it seemed inevitable that we would lose Sess sometime in the next year. I don’t think it was just me that was pessimistic. Most fans seemed to assume the same things I did.
I even began to speculate that if Clint Dempsey had arrived from Fulham during this window, this would signal the end for Sessegnon at the club. However, I awoke to the same news that shocked many of you this morning. Sessegnon has signed an extension that keeps him at the club for three years.
In the end it is basically a one year add on to his existing deal, but I am assuming that it has increased his pay to come closer to what new boy Adam Johnson is receiving.
So the big news is certainly that Sess has signed an extension, but I think there is something lying underneath that news that is even more important. Since Sunderland’s most recent promotion back to the Premier League the club has never been considered a real contender for any silverware in the cups or a club that will contend for places in European football.
Let’s face it, our last trophy was won in 1973 and we haven’t exactly been knocking at the door of winning any more recently.
As a fan I have embraced the underdog role and I know that many of the teams we face will have significantly higher payrolls and will most likely have talent on the pitch that dwarfs ours.
Last summer Steve Bruce brought in a whole new set of players and I reluctantly got excited about our chances but quickly realized that not only was he not the man to lead us, but we were also going to need some reinforcements in the squad as well.
* Salut! Sunderland at the ESPN site: MON”s smartest summer move: http://soccernet.espn.go.com/blog/_/name/sunderland?cc=5739
Well now we have the right leader and a much stronger squad. Martin O’Neill has taken a floundering side closing in on the relegation zone last season and turned us in to a team that believes in itself, in the system we play, and has proven that it can play with and beat top sides.
This summer we’ve seen a proven striker and a dynamic winger sign for Sunderland but now I think the biggest show of our ambition is that last season’s best player has signed a contract extension. I think fans have been getting tired and disillusioned over the fact that whenever we sign a top player they up and leave for more money or to go to what they consider a bigger club (any regrets now Mr Bent?).
Ellis Short and O’Neill are showing that they are in this for the long haul, and they want to see Sunderland continue to grow and become more of a factor in the league. Hopefully extending Sessegnon’s contract is a sign of big things to come for Sunderland.
Sessegnon’s re-signing signals to me that the team is behind what O’Neill is building here and
they want to stay and be a part of it.
O’Neill has mentioned that agents have been in Sess’s ear whispering to him about a move, but for now, he’s turned that down and committed to the club. I think our cards have been turned over, our hand has been revealed, and it’s a strong one. Big things are coming at Sunderland.