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Steed Malbranque Leaves Sunderland, Angeleri & McCartney Set To Follow

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Recently Steve Bruce was quoted in the press as saying he had to sell before he bought anyone else. Quite rightly so too, as despite the outgoings of Darren Bent and Jordan Henderson, we've also spent quite a fair bit of Uncle Ellis' money.

With nine players brought into the club this summer alone, and none of them left sided particularly, it was fair to say there's a glaring need in the squad, and we've got address that somehow rather than continue with someone out of position.

We all expected the likes of Marcos Angeleri, George McCartney, Nyron Nosworthy and Matt Kilgallon to be first out the door, and it looks as though we're making some progress on that. The flipside is that none of those are going to raise significant cash, so someone else had to be a casualty. Many speculated it might be Anton Ferdinand, but it turned out to be the diminutive Steed Malbranque. We reflect on what we've lost and what might come in...

So to kick things off we'll start with Marcos Angeleri, and his impending transfer back to former club Estudiantes La Plata. The fact Marcos is on his way comes as a surprise to nobody at all. When he arrived we were filled with optimism - on the fringes of the Argentine national squad, chased by Monaco and Inter Milan... what a coup for SAFC. 

Swanning on to Wearside with his Latin charm, and Christlike appearance, we should have known better. "Long-haired ponce" was often muttered in the working men's clubs of Sunderland, and those souls proved to know best, as he was just that.

Now, he didn't get much playing time. I believe it totaled around 75 minutes in the first team, however those were 75 horrific minutes where he was ripped apart by Notts County, and basically minced around Old Trafford and The Stadium Of Light for a while.

Next of course came Marcos' defining moment, whilst inexplicably being called up by Argentina, he decided to rant against Steve Bruce saying he doesn't like them foreigners, despite having signed many of them, and playing the ones who did well. Oh Marcos.

The writing was on the wall then, and he proceeded to spend much of the rest of the season in Argentina "injured" out of harms way, and in the hands of the best medicine men in the world of course.

Marcos, we will miss absolutely nothing about you.

Following Marcos out the door will be George McCartney, who according to Brucey will be leaving "in the next few days" with the destination unknown, nor that we're even particularly bothered. George was a cracking player in his first stint with the club before being sold to West Ham United. He even did quite well there before being brought back to Wearside by Roy Keane for a rumoured £6m+ deal.

It never worked out for George back here. He played a fair few games, but I'll be quite honest, I'm stumped if I can remember a stand-out performance. Under Steve Bruce, McCartney had no future. Injured, without a squad number and replaced by a combination of Anton Ferdinand and Kieran Richardson, his time was up. We thought...

Following an unsuccessful spell at Leeds United on loan, where he proceeded to play poorly, and turn up to training whenever he felt like, he was returned to Sunderland, where he hung around like a bad smell to pick up his extraordinary wages.

Like a first love or a crime scene, they say you should never come back. George came back to his first love, and created a crime scene. Goodbye and good riddance. 

And finally we can say goodbye to someone we actually liked - Steed Malbranque as he seals a move to St. Etienne in France.

Now, I feel the need to answer some things Roker Report is accused of when it comes to Steed. We certainly do not think he is a bad player. In his SAFC prime, he was fantastic, and still to this day possesses a first touch which is almost unrivaled in the squad. Hell, I even have a shirt with "Malbranque 8" on the back, sad as that my be.

However, he is rapidly becoming a spent force, as noted in an excellent article by Michael Graham in Captain's Blog the other week (click here to read). Playing time for Steed is now limited following the arrivals of Stephane Sessegnon, Sebastian Larsson, Craig Gardner and David Vaughan, not to mention the emergence of Jack Colback.

As said though, Steed provided some great memories at Sunderland, in particular a stunner against Hull City will live long in the memory, as will a throng of good performances. With only 12 months left on his contract, and with him reportedly the highest earner at the club, the time is right for him to move on.

We wish him all the best across the channel, and keep an eye on how he does.

Steed we salute you. Marcos, George - your salute is more of the two-fingered variety, interspersed with laughter that someone has actually taken these two off our hands.

Ok, back to business - all three are gone, so a little cash has been free'd up via wages and any small transfer or loan fees involved, what are we going to do with it? Clearly the left hand side of midfield is a need, but I can't think of a bargain basement signing we can make to fill the need. Shaun Wright-Phillips is the early rumor, I pray it's a false one. A striker wouldn't go a miss either.

We'll see now what Bruce's thoughts are with regards to those positions, but they are where we'd expect the gaffer to be shopping. Does anyone know if there's a sale on at Harrods?

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