Former Hot Young Prospect - 'Sunderland Was Hell, I Just Wanted To Get Away'
In June 2013, Paulo Di Canio, fresh from a kudos-boosting bounce which had kept Sunderland in the Premier League, signed a 19-year-old 'wonderkid' for £1.5m. The kid in question was recommended by then Director of Football, Roberto De Fanti, who had a long history with the agent representing the starlet.
Fast forward three-and-a-half years, and the former hot prospect has slammed his time at the Stadium of Light as "hard, very hard" and says that the club he had been lured to, with promises of being refined into a Premier League star, was "turbulent" and that once the figures that had hired him left, "those who came in did not care".
That kid was David Moberg-Karlsson. Now aged 22, the Swedish winger is back in his home country having returned there via a spell in Scotland and Denmark. He was Di Canio's fourth signing in a frenetic summer - the effects of which in truth have only recently been expunged.
Di Canio and his fellow Italian Roberto De Fanti launched a crazy spree of obscure signings that close season - fourteen of them - with moderate success in just two or three of the punts taken. Vito Mannone, Ki Sung-Yueng and Fabio Borini were the only positives in a list which includes Cabral, Roberge, Diakite and Moberg-Karlsson.
But in an interview with Swedish media, the former speedy Sunderland midfielder, who was tipped for the big time, believes he never stood a chance with the state the club he joined was in:
It was too big a step for me. It was hard to move there at age 19, especially when it was turbulent within the club and they changed coaches.
Those who recruited me were not there long. Those who then came in did not care. I had it explained to me quite clearly - we had meetings and I was told I was not good enough and they wanted their own players. It was not just me who experienced it, but it was difficult to tackle as a 19-year old.
But Moberg-Karlsson blames himself as much as those who were in charge at the Stadium of Light, and says he should have listened to one of his compatriots and senior Sunderland pro, Sebastian Larsson:
He told me exactly how I should behave to succeed but I did the opposite and went my own way. Had I only listened to Sebastian Larsson, everything would have gone better. Why did I not do it? It is hard to say. I regret not listening to him - he has gone through it all and had a long career in England.
The player who now plies his trade with IFK Norrköping in eastern Sweden, took his rejection badly and after making no Premier League appearances and sitting through just a handful of matches on the bench, he jumped at the chance to move to Kilmarnock a mere six months after arriving at Sunderland; but his spell in Scotland ended just as quickly:
There was a lot of reasons why I just wanted to get away from Sunderland.
So I played two matches [for Kilmarnock], and after we lost to Celtic - it's hard to do something great against Celtic - they said they could just as easily play with their own young players.
By the end of the 2013/14 season, Moberg-Karlsson had departed British shores and resurrected his career in Denmark before returning to the Swedish Premier League in the summer just gone. But, he has a warning for youngsters who follow in his footsteps - notably fellow countryman and current hot prospect Joel Asoro presumably:
Football is a business. It's not just about scoring goals and celebrating with the fans - it is an incredibly big business and in large parts you don't have a clue. Very many players came into the club but it was more than just football and not humanitarian - players are commodities. If you do it well and play, you are acclaimed - but if you do not do it well, you are worth nothing.
Defoe Wanted In China In A £30m Deal That Sunderland Surely Can't Refuse.....Can They?
The transfer window has been fairly quiet so far - one of the few big stories being the 'Defoe to West Ham' saga which reached a fever pitch late last week before dying a death... for a day or two.
However, with three weeks until the window slams itself shut, there's plenty more where that came from; and one of the Premier League's top-scorers is not going to avoid further attention that easily. The West Ham interest could reignite any day should the Hammers continue to be thwarted in their quest for a striker. And, Sam Allardyce has yet to play his hand in the battle for Defoe, so Crystal Palace links have no doubt yet to peak.
But, this story takes things to a whole new level. Before you click on it, and make the bait-hawk's day, let us explain it for you. The website in question claims Chinese Super League side, Beijing Guoan, are set to make a £30m swoop for Jermain Defoe.
The gossip-fest goes on to explain that despite Sunderland being adamant their top-scorer is not for sale, their resolve may be tested with a bid which is double what they supposedly value Defoe at.
Make of it what you will.