Khazri One of 30 Players Nominated For Prestigious Award
Sunderland’s Wahbi Khazri has been nominated for African Player of The Year. The annual award, handed out by the Confederation of African Football will be presented in January next year.
Khazri has made the short-list of thirty names to succeed Gabonese Pierre-Emerick Aubemeyang of Borussia Dortmund who was crowned in 2015.
The nomination is recognition for Khazri’s form during the latter part of last season when he aided Sunderland in avoiding relegation and for his performances for the Tunisian national side.
The 25-year old has endured a slow start to this season, only making his first Premier League start on Saturday in a two-goal defeat at Stoke City. In recent weeks he has been linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light, with Espanyol mooted as a potential destination.
Khazri was the most enterprising player on the pitch for Sunderland at the Bet-365 Stadium in an otherwise sterile Sunderland showing, and he remains well thought of in France where he made his name.
The other England-based players nominated are:
Ahmed Musa (Leicester City), Andre Ayew (West Ham), Eric Bailly (Manchester United), Islam Slimani (Leicester City), John Mikel Obi (Chelsea), Kelechi Iheanacho (Manchester City), Riyad Mahrez (Leicester City), Sadio Mane (Liverpool), Victor Wanyama (Tottenham) and Yannick Bolasie (Everton).
The line-up demonstrates the increasing influence of African-born players in the Premier League. Pierre-Emerick Aubemayang and Riyad Mahrez are the current favourites for the title.
Breaking The Bank For Santander?
Federico Santander has been linked with Sunderland for a couple of weeks now. Supposedly we had a scout watch him in a recent game in which he turned out for FC Copenhagen.
But gossip in Spain claims Sunderland will pay €35m in January to sign the 25-year old striker. Everton and Swansea are also being credited with interest.
Santander is currently the third most expensive Paraguayan footballer in the country’s history. A move to the Premier League would instantly smash the record currently held by a certain Cristian Riveros who cost Club Olimpia of Paraguay £2m in 2015. Riveros spent a year on Wearside in 2010, making 14 appearances.
The timing is the giveaway here. FC Copenhagen are in Leicester this evening for a Champions League tie. What better way to put yourself, or your star striker, in the shop-window than a European night in the country in which you're touting yourself.
Verdict - €35m? Doubt It, unless one of those Chinese consortia does buy us out.
****Wipe of The Day: Liam Kennedy - Loving Life, Laughing Still
Liam Kennedy, journalist for Johnson Press who was removed from Sunderland reporting duty before he had even started last month, is now enjoying life covering Hartlepool United.
And good on him. Genuinely we reckon he has the balls to make something of it.
The Newcastle supporting man who was employed as the new Sunderland Echo ‘Argus’ to cover SAFC was removed from his post after derogatory remarks were unearthed on his personal facebook account.
But, he’s relaunched himself on social media and still hasn’t really figured how it works.
@MrHenchard Still get paid the same pal. I've even seen a win or two on this beat! ;)— Liam Kennedy (@LiamJKennedy23) October 17, 2016
A little wry smile at Sunderland's fate can probably be forgiven. But we've added his amusement about it to the memory bank - just in case.