Ndong Back For Spurs Game
Didier Ndong's African Cup of Nations adventure has come to an end. Host nation Gabon have been eliminated from the tournament this evening, after failing to beat Cameroon, a result which leaves them third in their group.
The record-signing midfielder has been missing from the Sunderland squad representing his country since the New Year visit of Liverpool. That game was the last time we picked up a point in the Premier League having since been beaten by Stoke City and West Brom, as well as exiting the FA Cup at the hands of Burnley.
His appearance against Jurgen Klopp's men was also Ndong's finest in a Sunderland shirt since his summer move from Lorient. His energetic display saw him win the penalty which resulted in Jermain Defoe's first goal and his all round display was full of energy and endeavour.
If David Moyes can find a way to get Ndong playing with a level of consistency to repeat that showing, Sunderland's midfield may not be the lost cause it currently appears to be.
Gabon have drawn all three matches in which they have taken part in this year's Cup of Nations; and Ndong played well this evening - nearly scoring a last-gasp winner - but it wasn't enough to inspire his team to progress.
Take a look at this though - a minibus full of Gabonese supporters arrived to support their team clad in red-and-white Sunderland shirts. Reports that the chap in the headdress is burning an effigy of David Moyes are as yet unconfirmed:
Patrick van Aanholt 'on the brink' of Sunderland exit
The Sun have ramped up the intense transfer speculation surrounding Sunderland left-back, Patrick van Aanholt, by claiming Crystal Palace will conclude a deal to sign the Dutchman early this week. The national newspaper speculate that David Moyes has already commenced the hunt for a replacement.
Sam Allardyce made the 26-year-old one of his top targets the moment he entered Selhurst Park, and Sunderland are thought to have already rejected an opening bid of £7m and a subsequent improved offer. It's thought that Big Sam valued van Aanholt at £15m during his tenure at the Stadium of Light.
A bid of £12m is thought to have enticed Sunderland into talks though, with the player putting in some poor performances in recent weeks. He was ripped apart by West Brom's Matt Phillips yesterday as the Baggies cruised to victory over David Moyes' sorry side.
Just this morning we reported on claims that Sunderland are interested in Everton's Bryan Oviedo. The Costa Rican full-back has found his opportunities limited at Goodison Park and a few days ago Oviedo suggested he would be open to a move in January.
Sunderland and Everton transfer links have been a recurring feature in this transfer window, with former Goodison boss David Moyes credited with interest in midfielder James McCarthy and centre-half Phil Jagielka.
Blues' boss Ronald Koeman is thought to be still interested in Sunderland's Lamine Kone and with the Ivory Coast on the brink of an early exit from the African Cup of Nations - should results not go their way on Tuesday - we can expect a renewed bout of transfer stories on that front this week.
Lens negotiations end & Sporting Lisbon can't afford Coates - No cash for now
Sunderland have been in discussions with Fenerbahçe for a while attempting to thrash out a permanent transfer for winger Jeremain Lens. The cash-strapped Black Cats are thought to have been keen on pushing through a deal to swell the empty coffers at the Stadium of Light.
But Sunderland and Fenerbahçe appear to remain miles apart in their valuation of the Dutchman who was signed by Dick Advocaat for a fee rising to £13m in the summer of 2015.
Sunderland have held firm in negotiations and largely hold the upper hand as the player has continued his assault in the media, pleading to be allowed to stay in Fenerbahçe beyond his initial season-long loan spell. Lens even threatened to send his father to England a couple of weeks ago to meet with David Moyes to sort out a deal, such has been the circus around Len's stay in Istanbul.
However, the one enormous joker held up the sleeve of the Turkish giants is the existence of a relegation-clause in Lens' deal with Sunderland. NewsWipe has covered the story a couple of times, and since then we've largely had it confirmed that the 29-year-old can leave for a reduced fee - in the region of £4m to £6m - if we finally succumb to the drop this season.
Lens incurred the wrath of David Moyes recently by suggesting he would be pleased if his parent club are indeed relegated in May - to make his permanent passage to Turkey a little easier. The Sunderland boss subsequently described the player's comments as "disgracefully disrespectful".
Now reports in Turkey claim talks between the Black Cats and the club nicknamed the Yellow Canaries have now ended due to Sunderland's insistence they will not accept a fee lower than £8m to make the transfer a permanent one.
Further, the reports claim the Istanbul-based outfit will instead now turn their attention to Rachid Ghezzal, the Algerian international winger who plays for French side, Lyon.
Ghezzal is reported to be unsettled by the arrival of Memphis Depay from Manchester United, and the club who are currently fourth in Ligue 1 are also said to be tracking Adnan Januzaj with a view to a move for him in the summer.
On that note, the Brussels-born midfielder is again said to be on the verge of quitting the Belgian national side to turn out for the nation from which both of his parents hail. Januzaj's mother and father fled Kosovo in 1990 and the nation have been in the process of getting themselves recognised by UEFA. `
BREAKING:Adnan Januzaj reportedly appealed to football’s governing body in an attempt to be granted permission to represent Kosovo [The Sun] pic.twitter.com/fR4ueLVGxZ— Kosovan Football (@kosovanfooty) January 22, 2017
Elsewhere, Portuguese publication Ojogo earlier claimed Sebastian Coates will leave Sporting Lisbon at the end of his loan spell there this season and may move to fierce rivals Benfica instead.
The outlet had reported that Sporting have struggled to meet the central defender's wage demands, but this evening Benfica coach Rui Vitoria ruled out entering the race to sign Coates.
On the subject of Benfica though, supposedly David Moyes had a representative take in their fixture against Boavista last weekend and striker Andreas Samaris has been strongly linked with a loan move to the Stadium of Light.