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Escapees: of those who left Sunderland post-relegation, have any proven themselves elsewhere?

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We take a look at those who left the club in the wake of our relegation and see if the grass really was greener for them on the other side.


When a manager such as David Moyes takes you down and is replaced by the hapless Simon Grayson, it’s only to be expected that a raft of players will look to try and reignite their careers elsewhere. But how many of them have made a success of it after leaving the club for good? Read on for a run down of our relegation escapees.

Jordan Pickford’s big money move to Everton started off shaky as new look Everton struggled under Ronald Koeman; however, despite the Toffees’ early season wobble, young Jordan has continued to develop into one of the country’s best goalkeepers.

With his former boss Sam Allardyce - the manager who gave him his Premier League debut - now at Goodison Park, there’s a good chance he’ll be on that plane to the World Cup - especially after his magnificent debut against Germany.

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Jermain Defoe’s move to Bournemouth hasn’t really worked out the way most of us expected it to. He has remained in the England squad, but on the South Coast he’s mustered only one goal and six starts as Eddie Howe opts for the youth of Josh King.

He did in fact make a rare start at the weekend, but was hauled off on 69 minutes following another quiet performance. Many are claiming that the 35-year-old simply doesn’t do enough outside of the box to succeed in Howe’s hard working Cherries team.

AFC Bournemouth v Brighton and Hove Albion - Premier League Photo by Dan Istitene/Getty Images

Victor Anichebe decided to end his Sunderland career by moving all the way to China for some reason (probably the cash) and his team sit firmly placed in the Chinese second division. Four wins from eleven matches sees them sit six points off a relegation place.

Surprisingly the perpetually unfit Nigerian hasn’t sucumbed to many fitness issues and has competed in every game so far, but has only found the net twice. Still only 29, you have to wonder if it would have been a better option for ourselves and perhaps Vic himself if he had stayed.

Sunderland v Hull City - Premier League Photo by Mark Runnacles/Getty Images

Seb Larsson joined Hull in the summer after the beautiful, blue-eyed Swede rejected a new one-year deal on Wearside. He has had a topsy-turvy beginning on Humberside though, with the Tigers struggling for consistency.

The manager who brought him to the club - Leonid Slutsky - left Hull at the weekend with the club sitting just above the relegation zone. Larsson’s first few months with the Tigers were somewhat unheralded, but his return to full match fitness has coincided with improved performances in the Hull engine room. For example, he was phenomenal in their 6-1 win over his former side Birmingham City back in September.

Derby County v Hull City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Vito Mannone returned to the Stadium of Light only this past weekend and left with all three points, but what has he been like for Reading on the whole? Well, quite good in all honesty.

What seemed like a decent move all round at the time has proven to be to Sunderland’s detriment; summer buys Jason Steele and Robbin Ruiter have so far proved to be nothing short of a disaster. The Italian has a commendable four clean sheets with Reading sitting in the middle of table after a good run of form following a difficult start to the season.

Derby County v Reading - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Adnan Januzaj’s agent somehow convinced Real Sociedad to pay £9m to Manchester United for him in the summer following his disastrous loan move to Wearside last season, and he’s done pretty much bugger all there too if truth be told.

He’s appeared only six times as a starter and spent most of the season coming off the bench. He does have three assists, but his claim that he was going to “set the record straight” during his time in Spain has thus far fallen, as expected, a little flat.

Real Sociedad v Real Madrid - La Liga Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

And what of the rest?

Jan Kirchhoff is still searching for a club after rumours of a move to Hannover 96 never came to fruition.

Will Buckley has been appearing for cash strapped Bolton Wanderers sparingly since his free transfer in the summer. The 6ft winger has appeared for the Trotters only four times this year and is kept out of the side by err... Sammy Ameobi.

Joleon Lescott is rather unsurprisingly a free agent still with no one as stupid as David Moyes willing to take on his wage - although West Ham might just be on the lookout for a centre half if he has anything to do with it.

Steven Pienaar moved back home to South Africa to join Bidvest Wits and has subsequently barely played due to injury. Quelle surprise. They sit bottom of the South African league.

Jason Denayer is back at Galatasary on another season long loan to rekindle his odd little love affair with the Turkish fans. Gala sit second in the Turkish Super Liga but got battered 3-0 by rivals Besiktas at the weekend.