Yann M'Vila’s Wages
After the most protracted, dramatic, and frankly ludicrous transfer story in Sunderland history, it was December when Yann M'Vila finally closed the saga by declaring he no longer wished to return to the Stadium of Light. The Frenchman spent a successful season on loan on Wearside and many had anticipated he would be signed permanently last summer.
Sunderland released a statement indicating he had informed them of his decision and that the club had no desire to sign players not committed to the cause. The fabled pre-contract agreement - which was supposed to ensure he would return to Wearside - was torn up and M'Vila continued his stay in Russia, signing a new deal with Rubin Kazan.
David Moyes - who has never actually worked with Yann M'Vila - suggested the midfielder, who spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light, lacked the fight for the unfolding relegation battle.
And that was pretty much that. There was a moment of moderate panic during the January transfer window when Crystal Palace and Hull City were said to be willing to trigger M'Vila's release clause, but he was never really likely to walk out of Russia so soon after signing a new deal.
There has always been an undercurrent of displeasure amongst Sunderland fans that the 26-year-old wasn't signed last summer when the club had their chance and he was practically begging to return. No deal was ever reached with Rubin Kazan and with the Russians seemingly demanding £8m for a player who was to be out of contract in December, the cash-strapped Black Cats baulked at paying what was asked.
But, there was likely always another reason Yann M'Vila didn't sign for Sunderland and opted to sign a new deal with Kazan - money - right?
Indeed, reports in Russia indicate the former French international is the fourth highest paid footballer in the nation's Premier League. In fact, the player at the top spot in the earnings table doesn't earn a huge amount more than him. The figures are likely reasonably accurate too, coming as they do from the Russia’s biggest sports outlet which assembles the rankings each season.
That said, he might not rake in as much as you think - 4 million euros a year. And at today's rate of exchange, that's £65,000 a week. Not bad for a midfielder who would have transformed this struggling Sunderland side. There's plenty of other players earning equivalent to that at the Stadium of Light. He didn't want to come anyway - but still....
Former Sunderland player on how David Moyes has mellowed
Former Sunderland defender, Alan Stubbs, played under David Moyes in two spells at Everton so he's well placed to pass comment on how the Scot changed during his decade-plus stint as boss at Goodison Park.
Stubbs remains an unpopular figure on Wearside for his antics during his brief spell at Sunderland. The centre-half sparked controversy when he celebrated a late Everton winner whilst playing in a red-and-white shirt at the Stadium of Light in 2005.
He had only joined Mick McCarthy's side due to a dispute with the Everton hierarchy who had offered him just a 12-month contract extension as he returned to fitness following a battle with cancer.
Stubbs was then spotted in the crowd at Goodison Park during a match against Bolton Wanderers which sparked furious speculation that he was angling for a return to Merseyside. The centre-half would later claim he was only there with his six-year-old daughter who was an Everton fan.
Regardless, five months later he linked back up with Moyes at Everton and stayed there for a further three years. So, Alan Stubbs - most recently sacked as manager at Rotherham - is well placed to draw conclusions about how his former boss has changed over the years. Stubbs told the Liverpool Echo:
David evolved as he went on. When he first came in he was all guns blazing, he would point the finger and tell people in no uncertain terms, but as the years went by he started to realise that the shouting and balling was not neccessarily having the response that was needed.
Moyes returns to Goodison Park for the first time as Sunderland boss this weekend as his current charges sit bottom of the league and prepare to take on seventh-placed Everton.
The last time Moyes went back to the club at which he spent more than a decade as boss, his Manchester United team lost by two-goals-to-nil and it will be interesting to see what reaction the former manager generates amongst the Goodison crowd on Saturday. Time has soured Merseyside memories of their old manager and he's unlikely to receive a warm welcome.