We've had our fair share of trialists in the last few months, so we though it would be best to follow up on some of them since stories appear to be emerging on all of them.
First of all we start with the first one who came over for a "training stint" this winter, and that was Haitian goalkeeper Steward Ceus. The 25-year old, a back-up with MLS outfit Colorado Rapids, has signed a new contract with the club ending any chance he was about to end up here. In all honesty, as with most of these trialists, a permanent transfer is and always was very unlikely.
Another who came not long after that was former Ghanain Black Satellites prodigy Albert Bruce. There's been little mention of the lanky midfielder who was supposedly over for a two week trial, but he has cancelled his loan deal with Legia Warsaw by mutual consent. Whether or not this is to push through a move elsewhere remains to be seen.
Perhaps a more interesting one is Tom Oostinjen. The defender from the Dutch third division who has been over for a trial. He has been telling the Dutch press that he played in a friendly against a Sunderland Under-19 side and won 5-0, but more importantly than that, that we were impressed with him;
I was at center back. In the exhibition game we won 5-0 and I marked a French international (RR: Likely to be Louis Saha rather than Mikael Mandron).
I trained hard for a week and also played a match. It was a time to remember and I'll be back. I've left an excellent impression. The other members of the staff were speaking about me.
However it's not all plain sailing for Oostinjen. With his age, he will be too old for the Development Squad and not quite good enough to warrant a place among the 25-man First Team. This is something he himself acknowledged, but he does hint that he could end up within our feeder system;
Because I'm a half a year too old, I do not qualify for a contract at Under-21 level, and for the first team squad I am not ready. I have to continue to develop and therefore there are agreements.
It's strongly fancied that Oostinjen will end up at SK Lierse in Belgium if he goes anywhere, what with it being the closest to his Dutch home, although whether he is up to playing in the Belgian top flight remains to be seen.
Josh Janniere - another former Colorado Rapids player - seems to be enjoying his time here and on Twitter seems to be very much in the swing of things as a Sunderland fan. Unfortunately for him he hasn't yet gained a deal despite in late December telling people his future would be sorted soon and he'd reveal all then. He has however been linked with a potential move to Norwegian side Sarpsborg 08, now managed by former Sunderland striker Brian Deane.
Finally we have another Yank over on a pretty pointless "training stint" for the next ten days, DC United reserve 'keeper Joe Willis. Willis told DC's official website;
My goals are really to enjoy myself and take it as a learning experience, try to learn as much as I can from the coaches I have over there.
Which doesn't make it sound as though we're taking a particularly serious look at him, so I wouldn't go expecting anything to happen soon.
Anyway, some people wanted updates on the trialists and that's pretty much the latest on it. Nothing much to see here, although the future of Tom Oostinjen seems to be the most interesting thing going on at the moment.