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Ndong Desperation Nonsense, Asoro to Newcastle Ridiculed & Manquillo Speaks

In today's Roker Review, we debunk the chatter about Sunderland's inability to attract players, ponder how Javier Manquillo is settling in and save a giggle 'till last at the news that Newcastle are scouting Joel Asoro.

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Ndong "Desperation" Nonsense

Sunderland’s new record signing, Didier Ndong, was in action for the second time in five days last night, as Gabon faced four-time African Cup of Nations winners Cameroon in a friendly.

Cameroon emerged the victors with a ninetieth minute winner. The game had been arranged as a warm-up for both sides’ upcoming qualification games for the 2018 World Cup. Ndong can now make the trek ‘home’ to Wearside from the African continent to look forward to his debut later in September for Sunderland

The mutterings about the midfielder’s transfer still rumble on somewhat. Lorient’s President has continued his protestations that he simply could not reject Sunderland’s offer, telling anyone who will listen that he turned down three bids for Ndong before finally agreeing to sell for £13.6m.

The Telegraph this morning described Sunderland’s signing of the 22-year old as "desperation" in an ironically desperate bid to keep the tale in the news.

Notwithstanding the fact that this ‘news’ is now days old, they proceeded to trot out a few quotes from Loic Fery, President of Lorient.

What M. Fery and The Telegraph by association are, of course, failing to mention is the continued disquiet amongst Lorient supporters at where exactly the proceeds from big sales to English clubs, notably Sunderland, have either gone or are intended to go.

Indeed Lorient bombed in their own "desperate" bid to replace Ndong with Abdoulaye Doucouré of Watford on transfer deadline day. The French club failed to register the deal in time, and M. Fer has been quick to declare that the transaction was a paltry thirty three seconds late in being captured by FIFA’s online transfer system.

All of this comes against a backdrop of Lorient sitting second bottom of Ligue 1 without a point from their first three games. So, a little defensiveness may be understandable from the French outfit who are being accused by their own supporters of becoming nothing but a feeder club for the English Premier League.

It is just a little shame then, that certain elements of the North East-based national press continue to pick any negative ‘spin’ on a Sunderland story without furnishing their readers with the full story.


Manquillo Speaks Spanish

Widely billed as slightly amusing because Javier Manquillo can't understand David Moyes, this morning's papers have been poring over some interviews that Sunderland's new loan signing has undertaken to mark his arrival at the Stadium of Light.

Picking up on this quote, a couple of articles have wondered whether Manquillo fully understands the scale of the task at Sunderland this season:

"David Moyes is the best person to talk about the aims for this season. Because of the language, his accent, I don't understand him very well."
In the incredible melting point of languages, cultures and nationalities that is the English Premier League nowadays, why a couple of journalists have considered the prospect of a Glaswegian conversing with a Spaniard as worthy of comment is a little odd. Particularly so when, as the following paragraphs confirm, Manquillo speaks little English and is relying heavily on a translator during his stay here; but hey, such is life when you're trying to fill columns I guess.

If his transfer to Sunderland has gone a little under the radar, it’s worth reminding ourselves just how good Javier Manquillo could be this season.

The arrival of Šime Vrsaljko at Atletico Madrid in July, on a five-year deal, meant Manquillo’s re-exit from Madrid on loan was pretty much inevitable after he had spent the summer training under Diego Simeone.

He remains highly thought of in Spain and his versatility will be an asset. Naturally right-footed he has also played regularly at left back.

A successful stint at Marseille should prepare him well for life at Sunderland. If you thought life on Wearside was rarely dull, Olympique Marseille of last season were a complete headcase. Flirting with relegation, signing Steven Fletcher and reaching the French Cup final were just some of the roller coaster lurches of Les Phocéens of last term.

Sunderland will retain an option to sign him permanently at the end of this spell, so he has every reason to establish himself this time around in the Premier League.  He had been linked with the likes of Watford and was rumoured to be close to joining Valencia in a €10m deal earlier in the summer.

Speaking perfectly good English, through a translator, on the club’s official website, Manquillo revealed his eagerness to make a home debut against Everton on Monday, having formerly been a Liverpool player.

Regardless of paper-talk about Sunderland and David Moyes struggling to attract high-calibre players during the summer, the signing of Javier Manquillo represents a minor triumph.

Marseille had tried to re-loan the player only to be rebuffed by Madrid who had insisted he would only be available on a permanent deal to them, and several elite European clubs would certainly have been willing to sign him before he linked up with Moyes on Wearside for a 12-month second shot at establishing himself in English football.

Asoro to Newcastle Then

Featured in a few places, including the Sunderland Echo, Newcastle are supposedly monitoring Sunderland’s current hot prospect Joel Asoro. Reports have claimed that 'Super Scout' Graham Carr has added the Swedish youngster to his watch-list.

What on earth is this all about then? Apparently, Carr had been in Sweden to take in their World Cup qualifier against Holland on Monday night and presumably he decided to make the trip worthwhile by lingering a little longer to watch the youngsters the following evening.

With the Swedish media currently giddy with excitement at the potential of Asoro, one eagle eyed reporter had spotted Carr in the crowd and grabbed him for a word. Carr is quoted as being "impressed" by the teenager.

Regardless, the answer is of course obvious; Joel Asoro, whose agent was supposedly approached by the president of Paris St Germain recently, is attracting the attention of the mighty Rafa Benitez.

Lured by the prospect of joining the Rafalution in the Championship, Sunderland’s 17-year old up-and-coming striker is to snub Champions League clubs to make the short move to Tyneside. The youngster is now being scouted by a host of Europe’s top clubs and Newcastle United.

Of course, if Carr was there to watch Asoro then this is little more than a Championship club looking to loan a Premier League prospect come January.

Because, even if Newcastle United turned up at Sunderland this afternoon, with a suitcase of swag and promises of a few months basking in the adulation of the Geordie-Nation, new loan rules mean such deals can only be completed during open transfer windows.