Niall Quinn’s denial is welcomed and reported at this link. Rather puts Mr Alan Nixon of the Daily Mirror on the spot. Read on …
Last week Salut! Sunderland offered an unfashionable defence of football journalists after all the speculation surrounding Jordan Henderson, at least to the extent of pointing out that despite kneejerk condemnation of the press, the reports had turned out to be true in almost every respect.
The sting in the tail was the warning to take all such speculation with a pinch of salt, unless it seems convincingly sourced or has some sort of common sense basis.
But what on earth are we to make of this morning’s devastating headline above a report at Ghanasoccernet.com: Shock as Sunderland put up Asamoah Gyan for sale … ?
What made me shudder was the thought that this is a site that has shown itself in the past to have viable contacts with Gyan or his agent. Have they really got wind, then, of yet another of our “calculated gambles” – having allowed Darren Bent to go without replacement, and having seen Sir Alex Ferguson appear to rule out any chance of getting Danny Welbeck back, now selling our remaining dedicated striker?
I breathed a sigh of relief on reading the story since Ghanasoccernet has, at this stage anyway, mostly regurgitated a report that has apparently appeared in the Daily Mirror. This states that Gyan’s name has been circulated to clubs to denote his availability.
The Ghanaian report adds a little detail, including mention of Spurs and Arsenal as potential buyers, and says “Sunderland are seeking to sell their most expensive player to enable them buy many players ahead of next season”. Confusingly, the Mirror tale goes on to claim Gyan’s name actually appeared on a list sent out not by the club as its own headline claims, but “by an agent close to the club”.
Salut! Sunderland will accord a traditionally warm welcome to Darron Gibson, David Ngog and any of the other players we have been closely linked with, should they actually join the club. But with the greatest of respect to these supposed targets, there is not an out-and-out striker among them.
There has also been talk of Steve Bruce knocking on ‘arry Redknapp’s door for Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko, but equal amounts of talk to the effect that the answer, from club and/or players, was a resounding No. Into the equation, however, must be thrown Gyan’s own comments last week, on Tottenham’s reported interest in him, which gave none of us the slightest reason to believe he felt an unbreakable bond with Sunderland AFC.
“I am not aware of any contact from Spurs, I have a contract with Sunderland. At the moment it is rumours. I was in London three weeks ago for an award in London with my good friend John Pantsil, not for a meeting with Spurs. Spurs are a fantastic club and any player would be flattered by their interest, so I am, but there is nothing I can do if Sunderland want to keep me.”
Let it be said as loudly as we can manage, and not for the first time: the policy of flogging off prime talent without adequate replacements in place or lined up – not just vaguely in our sights – belongs to the madhouse.
Bruce, Niall Quinn and Ellis Short must not assume that money available for purchases is any sure sign that we we will be able to use it to secure the players we want in the positions that glaringly need strengthening. The relatively recent past of SAFC is littered with the names of players we wanted who didn’t want to come anywhere near Wearside except, as it seemed in the case of Crouch when he was at Pompey, on a flying visit to improve his bargaining position with Spurs.
It may be, of course, that the report is utter nonsense. Much transfer speculation is just that, even if it the clubs or players’ agents are often as culpable as the media (electronic as well as print) in allowing lies and half-truths to spread. It may alternatively be the case that we are indeed selling but have exciting, top-quality announcements of our own just waiting to me made. We will see; either the Mirror’s Alan Nixon has the scoop he claims, or he is spouting nonsense.
Forgive me for feeling in need of reassurance. I have no current reason to fear for the state of my heart, but might well need the services of a friend who happens to be a cardiologist (though he’d rather be a rock drummer) if it turns out we have bags of money but no strikers.