The Gossip: Defenders Dominate Sunderland Summer Agenda

Paolo Bruno

The season is finally over (yay) and since we are mostly done with analysing it and the subsequent weeping that inevitably follows, it is time to look to the future and bring back our Gossip feature.

Every week until the end of the transfer window, we will round up the transfer rumours for you and keep track of the latest chatter. We won't mention just any old talk when the club has been mentioned in passing, however. It needs to be a persistent and at least somewhat credible link. There will be no (further) mentions of Edinson Cavani here, for example.

So let's begin with the list of names the world's media are linking with a move to Wearside this summer.

Valentin Roberge (Maritimo)
Mobido Diakite (Lazio)
Diogo Viana (F.C. Penafiel)
Danny Rose (Tottenham)
Emmanuel Cascione (Pescara)
Danilo D'Ambrosio (Torino)
El Hadji Ba (Le Havre)
Mauro Zarate (Lazio)
Bas Dost (Wolfsburg)
George Mandjeck (Auxerre)
Charlie Austin (Burnley)
Alfred Finnbogason (SC Heerenveen)
Greg Sandomierski (Genk)
Tom Allan (York City)
Salif Sane (Nancy)

To get the formalities out of the way first, that is a whopping 15 names to start us off.

The most instantly noticeable thing is the amount of foreign and rather obscure players on the list. You wouldn't hear many of those names without heading straight over to Wikipedia. That is a huge change from last year when you would feel perfectly safe betting your puppy's life that Martin O'Neill would be shopping domestically.

Whether that represents a genuine shift in policy for the club or whether it is simply the product of a press who don't know what to expect remains to be seen, but you'd fancy the influence of Roberto De Fanti - Sunderland's Director of Football in waiting - is heavily at play here.

The next thin you notice is that many of the players on the list, such as Diakite, Roberge, Viana, and D'Ambrosio, are out of contract this summer and would be available on free transfers, which is surely not a coincidence. Considering the amount of work that needs to be done on a threadbare and generally poor squad, taking advantage of the Bosman market will be a must for the club this summer.

The amount of defenders on the list is no surprise either. With Titus Bramble and Matthew Kilgallon half way out the door as their contracts expire, Danny Rose back at Tottenham, Phil Bardsley feeling the full force of Paolo's fury, and Wes Brown being Wes Brown, that essentially just leaves two senior defenders at the club, and one of those is Carlos Cuellar.

So defenders being linked in droves is something we can certainly expect to be a recurring theme of the summer.

One slight disappointment so far is that there has been no real pedigree central midfield players linked yet. Whilst the importance of value must be appreciated, that is one position you feel the club can't really afford to be cheapskates over.

Anyway, consider the feature reintroduced for the summer and yourselves 'caught-up'. We'll go into more details with the various reports as they emerge and develop.

In the meantime, be sure to bookmark our transfers centre to keep bang up to date with the Sunderland summer transfer news.

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