The Forgotten Men Are On The Up
Sebastian Coates grabbed the headlines as Sporting CP almost held out against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid last night. A late 94th minute winner robbed the Sunderland loanee of claiming a Champions League upset.
In match reports reminiscent of his time at the Stadium of Light, defeat was the order of the day, but Coates emerged with credit in his Champions League debut.
The Uruguay international joined Sporting Lisbon in January and had his loan deal further extended to the end of this season. His team narrowly missed out on the Portuguese title last term and have started this one in impressive form leading the pack after the first four games having conceded just one goal.
Coates has played every minute of Sporting’s few fixtures so far, lining up on the right hand side of central defence. So effective has his partnership been with Ruben Semedo, the pair have restricted their opponents to an average of just 2 shots on goal per game.
It is certainly unlikely that we will ever see Sebastian Coates in a Sunderland shirt again. He recently told the Uruguayan press that he is "very happy in Portugal". With a current glut of central defenders at the Stadium of Light, David Moyes is unlikely to feel a desire to add to the ranks by recalling the former Liverpool man.
Coates is one of several players who never quite lived up to the billing given by the man who originally signed him, Gus Poyet. He made a total of twenty-six appearances for Sunderland and is out of contract in June 2017, so we’re unlikely to recoup any of the £2m fee paid for him last summer.
In other news, one of the most forgotten man in Sunderland’s history, Charis Mavrias has found a new club. The 22-year old Greek winger actually signed for German side Karlsruher SC last week and made his debut at the weekend. Notable for having a great stadium name, ‘The Wildpark’, KSC compete in Bundesliga 2.
Unfairly dubbed a ‘flop’ by The Sunderland Echo this morning, there are few Sunderland observers qualified to judge Charis Mavrias as a footballer. Arriving for £2.5m in 2013, he only featured seven times in the first team. Still only 22, Mavrias reached an agreement with Sunderland to terminate his contract during the summer.
Regular attendees of Under-21 matches thought he looked Okay when they saw him play. He certainly had pace, but whatever the reason behind his omission from the Sunderland set-up, successive managers just did not fancy him and we will likely never really know why.
The last remnant of the Roberto De Fanti deadwood, a doomed era finally releases the final chapter of its sorry tale then.
Naismith No News
There have been conflicting reports in the news today regarding Steven Naismith - some outlets are claiming that he remains a target for Sunderland who will revisit their interest in him come January, whilst others have dismissed the rumour.
The striker, currently at Norwich, was reportedly close to linking back up with David Moyes on transfer deadline day. Widely thought to be a loan deal, in the end it did not transpire for unknown reasons. Some close to Norwich have suggested that Sunderland were in for Naismith and goalkeeper John Ruddy, but that an expected second set of bids simply never materialised from SAFC HQ.
Naismith was left out of the Norwich side last weekend with manager Alex Neil claiming there was "no room" in his 18-man squad for the experienced striker. Whether this was some form of omission as a direct result of deadline-day antics we can only speculate.
Either way, his exclusion from the squad may well explain this sudden burst of renewed rumours of Sunderland interest. There's no better way to remind a manager of your presence than having an agent tell the world that you have other options after all.
Defoe Previews Spurs
Speaking on the club’s official website, Jermain Defoe has been previewing the Spurs match and recounting the time he joined a young Harry Kane for a kick about in the street. Driving past a group of kids, the former Tottenham striker had stopped his car and spent some time kicking a ball around with the boy Harry and his mates.
Sunday represents the third time that Jermain Defoe has returned to White Hart Lane in a red and white shirt. Both previous encounters have resulted in a Sunderland defeat, with us conceding six goals in the process.
Discussing his observations of Kane's rise through the Spurs ranks, Defoe identified the current England striker as the one for Sunderland to watch on Sunday. He also acknowledged that we are in need of something from White Hart Lane to finally get this season going.
Sunderland’s young strikers, Duncan Watmore and Joel Asoro most notably, would do well to follow Harry Kane's lead and learn from Jermain Defoe while they have the opportunity. Though some of the looks passed to Watmore by the former Tottenham striker of late would suggest that Duncan has much to observe still in that regard.