We’ve been here before, haven’t we?
Another summer brings another nervous wait for Sunderland fans, hoping we can convert a successful loan signing into a permanent fixture on Wearside. The loan market is an area that the club have utilised effectively in recent years, attracting players that perhaps would not have joined initially on a permanent basis.
Marcus Alonso, Danny Rose, Ki Sung Yeung and Nicklas Bendtner are just some of the names who have endeared themselves to the Wearside faithful during shorter spells with the club. Unfortunately the one thing these players have in common, is that the club were unable to negotiate permanent deals with parent clubs and convince players that the Stadium of Light was the place to be for the next stage of their careers.
This is probably to be expected, given our constant battles with relegation, and the massive re-building job managers have been tasked with recruitment wise over recent close seasons.
Fast forward to the end of the current season and things certainly do feel different under Sam Allardyce, with the summer recruitment drive looking less menacing given our excellent January window. These factors coupled with our end of season momentum, may make the club a more attractive proposition for this seasons loan star Yann M’Vila. The French midfielder has ditched his previous ‘bad boy’ reputation, and been a consistently excellent performer in red and white - particularly in the first half of the season.
The importance of Big Sam’s midfield three during that tense relegation run in cannot be overstated - M’Vila alongside Jan Kirchhoff and Lee Cattermole providing a balance of combativeness and distribution that both Newcastle and Norwich were sorely missing. Prior to the home match with Chelsea, M’Vila was being criticised in some quarters for a dip in form and a lack of the sharpness and energy he had displayed earlier in the season, though this is understandable given the midfielder had only racked up twenty-seven starts in the previous two seasons at both Inter Milan and Rubin Kazan.
Putting this is context, M’Vila has started thirty-eight games for Sunderland in League and Cup this season, so a period of fatigue should be a natural expectation in hindsight.
The midfielder brought his ‘A Game’ when it mattered most, and his work-rate and appetite for the fight during both the Chelsea and Everton games were exactly what was needed. He also carried us during the first half of the season when results were poor, and it was getting embarrassing watching M’Vila's excellent performances relative to the rest of his teammates during that period.
Balance in the midfield has been an area that the club have struggled with for years, and this places even more significance on ensuring that M’Vila starts next season in a red and white shirt. With the continued success of Jan Kirchhoff in the holding midfield role, M’Vila has proven he has the physical, technical and tactical ability to operate at Premier League level and bring much needed continuity to this side going forward. This addition alongside that ever elusive creative, attacking midfielder in place of Lee Cattermole, and we are looking a serious outfit in the middle of the park.
The club must press home the advantage of our current momentum with Big Sam at the helm, making the permanent signing of Yann M’Vila an absolute close season priority. Doing so would further show that the club is moving in the right direction, and a top quality midfielder believes that a future in red and white is worth getting excited about.