Update: from the Sunderland Echo: photographs of Asamoah Gyan arriving at Newcastle Airport have been posted on Facebook.
For Salut! Sunderland’s Nice corner – our regular look at French football – I scoured today’s L’Equipe in vain hope of finding authoritative news that Asamoah Gyan is already booking his passage from Rennes to Roker.
One or two other French reports were still talking of our interest in bolstering an attack “trop dépendant de Darren Bent” as one put it. But the emphasis was more along the lines of “Sunderland not abandoning hope of signing…” than “Sunderland set to clinch deal ..”.
We should hope that this reflects the astuteness of Niall Quinn in whatever dealings with Rennes he has had. All too often in the past, careless talk seems to have cost Sunderland signings. There have been rival reports that the Rennes player we have eyes on is actually a defender, Rod Fanni, which would be a disappointment unless it turned out to be what the tabloids like to call a double swoop.
But don’t raise hopes too high. France’s biggest-selling daily newspaper, Ouest France, happens to be based in Rennes (it is really a series of local papers) and, ominously, reports today that it understands from club officials that barring a last-minute change, Gyan is staying put.
Elsewhere in French football, we are delighted to see that Eric Roy’s Nice, our team of choice in Ligue 1, remain unbeaten after four games.
In fact, and Francophone readers may appreciate this, they were denied a top four place in this morning’s table only par Hazard, that being as close as needs be to the identity of the player who stood in the way of a great win at Lille. Eric himself did the decent thing the other day, turning out as a player again in a match to raise funds for victims of June’s murderous floods along the coast from Nice in the Var.
Who exactly are Bordeaux and where are they in the league, if I may adapt the question Jean-Louis Triaud, president of that club of fallen giants, posed when Sunderland wanted to buy Marouane Chamakh?
Well, they’re light years away from the championship-winning side of two seasons ago and were saved from another defeat yesterday only when they snatched an undeserved late equaliser at home to a Marseille team that played for an hour with 10 men.
Salut! Sunderland enjoys every reverse for les Girondins de Bordeaux; sadly this was a point gained and not two lost, though we can smile at their present Ligue 1 position: 14th, four places behind where we stand in a vastly superior league.
So, for now, Gyan’s Rennes are second top, four points behind Toulouse, who have won all four opening games but surely cannot last the pace. Poor little Arles-Avignon haven’t a single point and look excellent candidates for an immediate return to Ligue 2 – unless the single-goal margin of each of their four defeats suggests that salvation is not as remote as it seems.