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Joleon Lescott - What are the positives and the negatives of us signing the ex-England defender?

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The signing of Joleon Lescott today shouldn’t, and probably doesn’t, come as a surprise for any Sunderland supporter. We’re skint, very low on numbers and desperately in need of reinforcements.

England v Belgium - International Friendly Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Positives

Joleon Lescott and David Moyes know each other well from their time together at Everton, so you’d hope that if anyone can get the best out of him, it would be his old manager. Lescott made his first real breakthrough as a top player under Moyes' management - including making his debut for England - and there has to be some level of trust and respect there between the two.

Lescott adds another option in the heart of the defence - with John O'Shea struggling and Papy Djilobodji looking set for a lengthy ban following his incident with Darren Fletcher at the weekend, Moyes is desperate for further acquisitions at the back.

Whilst Lescott endured a tumultuous campaign with Aston Villa last season, it would be unfair not to acknowledge that he had a hugely successful and fruitful career prior to arriving at Villa Park.

The former Wolves defender has had a huge amount of experience and certainly is no stranger to the Premier League. He was won two league titles, an FA Cup and a League Cup with Manchester City, whilst also making 26 appearances in an England shirt.


Negatives

You cannot ignore what happened with Lescott at Aston Villa last season - a side that were relegated on 17 points, a record only beaten by Sunderland (15) in 2005-06 and Derby County (11) in 2007-08.

His attitude last season with Villa - he was one of many of their players that threw in the towel rather early in the season and gave up - really has me questioning his desire to still succeed in the game.

Less than an hour after Villa got hammered 6-0 at home to Liverpool, Lescott rather unwisely tweeted a picture of his Mercedes super-car. As you can imagine, the Villa fans were unhappy with his actions and his excuse - that he accidentally tweeted the image from his pocket - wasn't fooling anyone and only served to make him look like a bigger arsehole than he actually was.

Lescott further embarrassed himself publicly after Aston Villa were mathematically relegated last Old Trafford that having their league status confirmed was a weight off people’s shoulders and admitted that it had been coming for a while.

Aside from all of that, Lescott hasn't played a great deal of football since leaving Aston Villa in the summer.

Having joined AEK Athens following the expiration of his contract at Villa Park, Lescott played only four times before agreeing to cancel his contract in November with the Greek side after a medical dispute regarding a knee injury which he has since had surgery on. Whether he is anywhere near ready to be playing games regularly again is anyone's guess.


Conclusion

Ever since I heard that Joleon Lescott was training with us, I fully expected to see him sign on a short-term deal. It’s not a signing that sets the world alight, but it makes sense. Sometimes free agents can come in and look good - Anthony Reveillere is one recent example.

Whilst currently I’m leaning more towards the negative side of things when it comes to Lescott, we need players badly - whatever your opinions are about him as a person, it’s still better than signing nobody.

Sunderland are not gifted with having an expansive and glamorous budget to play around with in the final week of the transfer window and as such, signing a player of Lescott's experience is about where we are at right now. If nothing else, he's experienced back up to the players that we already have.

Having spend some time away from the Premier League, Sunderland could very well be receiving an experienced defender on a free that is eager to prove himself all over again having damaged his reputation due mainly to off-the-field errors with his old club.

If things don't work out, then no harm done - he will leave us in the summer anyways without having made much of a dint in our already-bulging wage budget.