Ndong's Second Managerial Casualty - Will there be a Third?
African Cup of Nations hosts, Gabon, today fired their coach - just over two months before the tournament starts in January.
Jorge Costa had been in charge for two years, and he pays the price for a dismal sequence of results. The Portuguese coach oversaw just two victories in ten games this year in what was supposed to be his country gearing up to welcome the cream of African football in 2017.
Some are counting Costa's friction with star midfielder, Didier Ndong, as one of the factors behind his downfall.
Costa and Ndong have endured a series of spats, the latest of which involved the Sunderland midfielder kicking a water bottle and hurling his shirt at a team mate as he was substituted in Gabon's last international match against Morocco.
Costa has been publicly questioned over his deployment of Ndong with several influential figures in Gabonese football claiming the 22-year old has been repeatedly played out of position in an attacking role.
The fall-out from Ndong's transfer to Sunderland contributed to the pressure which led to his coach when at Lorient, Silvain Ripoll, being sacked a few weeks ago. Supporters of the Ligue 1 team were enraged that their best player was sold in the final hours of the transfer window without any thought to a replacement.
Lorient are rooted to the bottom of the French top division and their president Loic Fery has come out fighting, claiming he had no choice but to sell the player once Ndong was aware of Sunderland's interest. Fery said last week:
Obviously I regret the episode with Ndong. But at one point we had no choice. Not because of the amount, but because of the player - who made it clear there was no turning back.
Has the final chaper of the fall-out from Didier Ndong's record breaking signing still to be written? Will nearly £15m spent on a defensive midfielder, when his Sunderland squad required so much investment in other key areas, yet be the downfall of David Moyes?
Should we be concerned about these hints about his attitude? The last thing we need right now is another African footballer with a chip on his shoulder (yes we mean you Lamine Kone).
Dick Advocaat Makes His Point But Lens Proves It
Dick Advocaat, who spent seven months in charge at Sunderland, was a special guest on TalkSport this morning.
Advocaat was complimentary about us in every regard but two - money and players; well - one really - money for players:
Great club, great stadium, great fans - but if you can't invest in players in England you have no chance.
The Dutchman claimed the struggles at the Stadium of Light are purely down to a lack of spending:
Almost every club are spending thirty, fourty million and even more to buy players. Sunderland is not capable of doing that. Not in my time, not in Sam Allardyce's time and not even now.
And he has a point, certainly Sunderland have not been spending thirty million quid on players, though in truth not many other clubs have been either. The veteran coach spent £25m during his one transfer window at the Stadium of Light and his signings were as much 'miss' as 'hit'.
However, when he succumbed to Ellis Short's pleas to return last summer, fans were led to believe there was a spending spree to follow. Indeed the Telegraph were so confident that they announced his u-turn with the headline "Dick Advocaat given large transfer kitty in order to stay at Sunderland".
Within three months, the 69-year old had walked away and blasted "How on earth were we supposed to compete in the Premier League when I wasn't allowed to spend any money?"
Reports since have claimed Advocaat did not even know how much he had to spend.
One of the players he brought to Sunderland, Jeremain Lens, has been attracting headlines across Europe thanks to a stellar showing in the Europa League last night.
The winger is on loan at Fenerbahce, reunited with Dick Advocaat at the Turkish club. Lens capped a man-of-the-match performance with a goal from a superb free kick.
The Evening Chronicle are one of the outlets who have today claimed supporters are furious at the decision to allow Jeremain Lens to somehow squirm out of Sunderland's grasp during the summer and escape on loan.
May we be the first to remind everyone that Jeremain Lens stunk, and not of the pungent variety. The player, who turns 29 in a couple of weeks, virtually went on strike under Sam Allardyce such was his refusal to graft in the Premier League.
Lens showed little in pre-season to suggest his attitude had been saved solely for Big Sam as he wafted through a couple of games, occasionally bothering himself to display a few nice touches. He was the wrong man with the wrong attitude for the English game.
There are plenty of sticks by which to beat Sunderland at the moment, in fact there's a cupboard full if you care to look, but Jeremain Lens is not one of them. Dick Advocaat wasted eight million quid of Sunderland's cash on him. What a return.