So, Anthony Reveillere. Is he past it, or are there still a few miles left in him? We asked Nodar Barbakadze of Get French Football News to help us out.
Because of the injuries we have in defence, he could very well play at the weekend against Arsenal. What can Sunderland fans expect to see from him?
NB: Reveillere has not played a professional game since his last appearance for Napoli, which was a 5-2 win on the 11th of May last season. Whilst he has been training with Sunderland for a while now, playing a competitive match against one of the top attacking teams in the Premier League in Arsenal will be a big challenge for him, especially against the likely opponent of Alexis Sanchez. Reveillere is a man of experience, though, so expect him to remain cautious on Saturday, and focus on his defensive duties instead of getting forward and joining attacks down the wing.
He's had a largely successful career in France, winning plenty of honours during his time at Lyon. How is he seen in France, by the Lyon fans?
NB: Reveillere made almost 400 appearances for Lyon, and do that at any club and you will likely endear yourself to their fans. That is no different at Lyon. On top of that, Reveillere was part of the famous Lyon side that won 7 consecutive Ligue 1 trophies, with the full back playing a major role in five of those honours. He is one of the most decorated individuals in the club's history, and his attitude on and off the pitch means that he is adored by the Lyon faithful.
When he's fit Billy Jones is our first choice right back - can you see Reveillere forcing his way into Jones' place in the side?
NB: A lot will depend on Reveillere's performances during the period when Jones is out injured, perhaps starting on Saturday against Arsenal. However, it looks to me that Poyet has signed Reveillere primarily as cover for Jones, so it would surprise me if Jones lost his starting place to the Frenchman. Unless Sunderland are open to extending Reveillere's contract, looking ahead into the future it is much more desirable to develop the younger Jones than play Reveillere, who at 34 is nearing the end of his career. But, as we know, anything can happen in football. A string of good performances and maybe Poyet will struggle to look the other way.
What would you say that his strengths were?
NB: Being so late into his career and with so many honours to his name, Reveillere has been there and done it. He should be able to bring big-game experience to this Sunderland side and, alongside veterans like O'Shea, will provide a solid basis for Sunderland's back line. He has, throughout his career, been a hard worker, so expect a strong attitude and work ethic on the field, as he is a top professional.
.... And his weaknesses?
NB: Needless to say, age gets the better of everyone in the end. Reveillere used to be one of the quicker players in his prime, but that can no longer be said of his current self. He will likely be a little slower than the average opponent's winger, he will have learnt how to deal with that in the last few years. He has also never played in England to date so, as with all players new to the Premier League, he may take a little time to adapt to the physicality and speed which is different from the French and Italian leagues.
Why didn't Lyon choose to hang on to him when they released him in 2013?
NB: It was not as if Reveillere had spent most of the previous season on the bench; in fact he had made 27 appearances in the league, playing the full 90 minutes in 23 of the first 27 games in the 2012/13 season. It is perhaps fair to say that things simply came to their natural end. A contract extension was certainly discussed, but the player wanted to experience something new and the player's demands when a possible extension was discussed proved to Lyon that it was time to move on.
The same question I guess can be asked of Napoli. Was he just backup to Maggio there?
NB: Whilst Reveillere was a bit-part player from Napoli, he was not quite a back-up to Maggio, but very much a late, emergency signing, much like he is being used by Sunderland potentially this time round. Maggio held down the right back position, while Reveillere was used as a utility player, mostly at left-back. He was initially brought in 12 games into Serie A after regular left-back Zuniga suffered a knee injury that required an operation. The fact that Reveillere managed to get in 13 starts from the possible 25 games that he was at the club is impressive considering the obvious strength in depth of a club like Napoli.
He's obviously done enough whilst training with the club these last few weeks to impress Gus Poyet but some Sunderland fans still have fresh memories of signing Andrea Dossena on a free from Napoli last year. He's not going to be as bad as him, is he?
NB: Let's hope not! As I said before, you never know what can happen in football, especially with a player who has not played a competitive game for a long while, but Reveillere will certainly be disappointed if he goes into the same category as Dossena. We hope that the Frenchman can use his wealth of experience to his advantage and settle in as quickly as possible at his new club. He did fail to reach the demands set at Napoli in terms of consistency, otherwise he would have gladly stayed another year or two.
Big thanks to Nodar for helping us out. Make sure you follow Get French Football News on twitter, which can be found HERE.