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Figures reveal 9th highest player turnover in Europe; Manquillo's future & 3 other talking points

In this evening's news bonanza; fresh figures reveal the dismal player turnover rate at Sunderland; rumours suggest club officials will meet to discuss a transfer this week; Emannuel Eboue reveals what Sam Allardyce said to him the moment he was forced out of the Stadium of Light exit door; forgotten-man Javier Manquillo's future may have become clearer; and Saturday's referee is announced.

The Stadium of Light Revolving Door

According to the CIES Observatory, a football research and stats body based in Switzerland, in the last five years Sunderland have had the ninth highest turnover of players in Europe's elite football leagues.

Indeed, the Black Cats are the only English club to make the top ten such has been the use of so many players at the Stadium of Light in recent years.

Source: CIES Observatory

Only Liverpool really come close amongst Premier League teams to Sunderland's relentless thirst to replace footballers. The Scousers are themselves a club who have had their own image crisis in the last few years - but one with vastly bigger resources than ours.

The figures reveal 103 players have been used by Sunderland managers in the past five years. And when you consider that a fair portion of those have been, failed, and gone, that points to the desperately poor record at the Stadium of Light.

But also, consider that David Moyes has utilised 31 players this season alone. Injuries have certainly taken their toll, but so too have individual inconsistencies. Those two factors combined have meant the position of centre-forward has been the only stable one at Sunderland in this campaign.

It all makes you wonder how we've managed to survive in the Premier League quite this long.


Besiktas 'to meet with Sunderland on Friday'

According to at least one report in Turkey, representatives from Turkish league leaders, Besiktas, will meet with Sunderland chiefs on Friday to thrash out a deal to steal winger Jeremain Lens from under the noses of rivals Fenerbahçe - at which the player is currently on loan.

This story has been populating column inches in England to fill the lull in Sunderland fixtures and in Turkey because - well - the Turks love a bit of gossip and Jeremain Lens is the man of the moment in the Super Lig.

Sunderland are supposed to have been monitoring Besiktas defensive midfielder Tolgay Arslan and the presence of a Black Cats scout at last week's Europa League tie against Olympiacos threw the Turkish gossips into overdrive.

Two-plus-two making five, it's now been widely reported that Sunderland are plotting a deal to swap Arslan with Lens, one which will see the want-away winger switch the yellow-and-black of Fener for the black-and-white of Besiktas.

Having watched this story unfold since it started in January, Roker Report doesn't believe a word of it.


Emmanuel Eboue on his fleeting Sunderland journey

Speaking to French TV station Canal Plus last week, Emmanuel Eboue has been speaking about his three weeks at Sunderland last spring.

Sunderland v Arsenal - Premier League
Emmanuel Eboue playing against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light in 2008
Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images

It was March 2016 when the 33-year-old was given a chance to prove himself to the end of the season by then-Sunderland boss Sam Allardyce. Three weeks later, Eboue found himself banned from football for 12 months for failing to pay a former agent.

However, the ex-Arsenal man remains grateful to Big Sam for having given him a chance to prove himself in English football again, even though it ended in disaster,

I will never forget this coach because he gave me a second chance. He knew I had not played for 18 months, but he phoned me. He said 'Son, I know your potential. I know you have not played for a long time, but I know you. Come on I will give you another chance.

And on the moment he was summoned into an office at the Academy of Light to be told his contract would be terminated,

They summoned me to their office to explain that FIFA had suspended me for a year.

Sam Allardyce was very disappointed because he was counting on me. I too was disgusted, rebellious because I was ready to give everything to him and the club.


Manquillo's future to become clearer at the end of April

Right-back, Javier Manquillo, has become something of a forgotten man at the Stadium of Light. The 22-year-old Spaniard has only featured in twelve Premier League and two FA Cup games since arriving from Atletico Madrid on loan.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League
Javier Manquillo playing against West Brom in October.
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Manquillo started the first seven matches of the season but was dropped for the visit of Arsenal at the end of October and has barely featured since.

The former Liverpool defender has had to settle for the bench and a few minutes here and there as Billy Jones has become David Moyes' preferred right-back. Manquillo's only start since was for the visit of Tottenham in January.

It is widely assumed that Manquillo will be sold by Atletico at the end of the season. The Madrid giants were keen to move him on permanently last summer after a successful loan spell at Marseille. The Ligue 1 club were desperate to resign the Spanish Under-21 international but talks broke down and Sunderland stepped in.

But if Atletico Madrid fail in a latest bid to get their current transfer embargo lifted, reports in Spain indicate the club will recall and retain many of the players it owns, including Manquillo. The Court of Arbitration in Sport is expected to deliver its verdict on the La Liga club's appeal against the ban which extends into this summer's transfer window on April 24th.

Previous reports in Spain had suggested Sunderland would have been obliged to sign Manquillo permanently upon him making 25 appearances for the Black Cats this season - a claim denied by the club itself. With that figure now nearly impossible, the player will almost certainly exit the Stadium of Light at the end of May.


Bobby's back

Bobby Madley will take charge of Saturday's crucial clash with Burnley. The 31-year-old officiated the last game Sunderland won at the Stadium of Light - the victory over Watford a massive three months ago.

With millennial pop sensations Steps recently announcing they've reformed and heading back on the road for their Party on the Dancefloor tour, the Wakefield-born referee has been practising his dance moves.

Let's hope there's no tragedy at the Stadium of Light this weekend. Ho ho eurgh.

Watford v Stoke City - Premier League
'Tragedy'
Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images
Watford v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Alex Morton/Getty Images