Fingers crossed that it’s true: we naturally hope at least one other signing will be made before the transfer deadline at the end of the month (that goalie crisis rings a bell), but this could prove to be the deal of our close season ….
SEE UPDATE, WITH OFFICIAL CONFIRMATION(-ish) IN THIRD COMMENT BELOW
The one person who should know whether or not a player has signed for Sunderland is the player himself.
On that basis we ought to be shouting from the rooftops in praise of Steve Bruce and Niall Quinn for clinching the return of John Mensah to the Stadium of Light.
NB: Apologies if you found Salut! Sunderland inaccessible while our friends at Footballunited.com carried out site maintenance in the early hours of Fri Aug 6. They promised it was all in a good cause.
This is what Mensah told his own website, modestly headed The Rock of Gibraltar (The Pillar of Hercules):
“I just signed for my new club this evening and am now going to play for Sunderland again. I’m happy to be back at the Stadium of Light, especially to meet Steve Bruce, Eric Black, my team mates and the lovely supporters of Sunderland: it’s like a dream come true; they make me happy and I thank God for such a renewal.”
The site quotes his agent Fabien Pivaeteau as saying: “John is going to Sunderland but not on loan as is being reported. The deal is a little bit complex and I will brief you later. Right now it’s too early to say anything.”
The Sunderland Echo says there is no word from the club to confirm these statements and for once I can sympathise with the management’s preference for caution, since there may well be technical details to sort out (Mensah’s site mentions the work permit) before the deal can properly be described as done.
But taking the news at face value, Salut! Sunderland is thrilled. Mensah is indeed a Rock, an immense defensive figure whose only problem, as we all know, is staying fit. We could all name other players who seem to suffer from no difficulty in staying fit but have all kinds of other problems, like not being good enough.
Fully fit, John Mensah is one of the top centre backs in the Premier League. A sometimes fit John Mensah is the next best thing.
No one has assessed better the importance of his contribution last season than our own Jeremy Robson in this article, one of our reviews of the 2009/2010 season (and which is mentioned at Wikipedia and brings a fair amount of traffic Salut! Sunderland‘s way):
The Report card (2): passing the Mensah test