At this stage of the window it is always a bit suspect treating reports on transfers as gospel. We are getting to that stage where both buying and selling clubs are plying the art of brinkmanship. Selling clubs are hoping that potential purchasers may pay over the odds, whilst those in the market for certain players are hoping that their current clubs are desperate enough to accept cut price terms for those deemed surplus to requirements. There are some players who will only become available if the selling club manages to complete some signings of their own first. Then there are the players and their agents touting around for the best deal possible and playing one club against another. If you are to believe some reports Jonathan de Guzman doesn’t rate Dick Advocaat and so won’t be coming to Sunderland. Until a transfer is officially confirmed I take it all with a pinch of salt. But today Sunderland did complete their fifth signing of the summer (sixth if we include Coates). Pete Sixsmith runs the rule over our new attacker/midfielder signed on loan from Rennes which is also the club we bought a certain other striker from … …
A warm welcome to Ola Toivonen who signed for us today on loan from Ligue 1 outfit Stade Rennes. In our time honoured tradition, we take a look at our new Swedish star.
He was born in the small Swedish town of Degefors in July 1986. As he arrived in the world, we were “celebrating” avoiding dropping into the Third Division, a feat we managed in the next season.
He signed for his home town club in 2005 and helped them to avoid relegation. As he was doing this, we were celebrating a joyous promotion from the Championship to Premier League under Mick McCarthy. Who can forget Julio Arca’s and Stephen Elliott’s goals at Upton Park where we clinched the Championship?
From Degefors he went to Gothenburg club Orgryte and played for them in a season where we slid back into the Championship after a grim season in the Premier League.
After a year in Gothenburg he moved to Malmo, one of Sweden’s top clubs and the club that Jimmy Montgomery won a European Cup Winners medal against in 1978. He was “Di blae’s” record signing, taking the title from Alfonso Alves, who became Middlesbrough’s record signing and a notable flop in Smoggieland.
He then moved to PSV Eindhoven, where he wore red and white stripes for the first time. He had five years at the Philips Stadion, scoring 61 goals in 139 games – which is not a bad record, until you remember it is the Eredivise and Jozy scored a bagful in it.
One of those seasons was as club captain and the next was under Dick Advocaat. He was a well-liked player in Eindhoven and looked settled there until the inevitable fall out came. After the winter break in 2013-14 he was told that he would not play again and he looked for a new club.
The new club was Stade Rennes, a middle ranking Ligue 1 club who have provided players for clubs all over Europe. They sold Asamoah Gyan to us a few years ago, so Ova is following in distinguished footsteps. His father was a Finn who came from Finland to Sweden for work and his son has followed him in becoming an economic migrant.
He becomes the club’s seventh Swedish signing following in the footsteps of Stephan Schwarz (outstanding), Joachim Bjorklund (decent), Tobias Hyssen (flattered to deceive), Rada Prica (the less said the better), Seb Larsson (good lad) and David Moberg Karlsson (anyone remember him?).
In the past, Liverpool and Norwich have been interested in him but didn’t follow it up. He has a good score on FIFA 15 (whatever that is) which places him in the top 10%. It says that he lacks pace but he is in the top 5% for shooting and passing. Maybe some of our younger readers can tell me what all this means.
He may play a part at Villa Park on Saturday and then off he trots on international duty with Sweden with his chum Seb Larsson. We look forward to him and a couple of others lining up against Spurs two weeks on Sunday.
“Haway Lads” as they say in Degefors.