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Half of Europe want flop; Arsenal game date set; Reid on 'flat' Sunderland & 4 more talking points

In this evening's news roundup: Peter Reid has been discussing the air of pessimism surrounding his former club; the long-awaited date for our penultimate game of the season has been announced; Januzaj is attracting interest from all over Europe; the ref for Saturday is confirmed; Michy Batshuayi likes Denayer & Joel Asoro gains recognition.

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Leicester v S’’land X

Reidy weighs in

Peter Reid has suggested Sunderland have an air of pessimism about them which has festered all season under the leadership of David Moyes.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

In an interview with BeIN Sports, the former Black Cats boss seized on those now infamous words uttered by Moyes when he predicted his new side would be in for a relegation battle two games in to the season. Reid said:

Early on in the season David says, "We are in a relegation fight". Now he might think that, but as a manager you don't say it publicly

Reid, the man who led Sunderland for five glorious years during his seven-and-a-half seasons at the helm, was a guest of the club when Burnley came to visit four weeks ago and said he could detect a dejected atmosphere even then:

I had a word with David afterwards and I wouldn't say he was resigned to it, but there was an air of inevitability around the Stadium of Light

And Reid pulled no punches in his assessment of how dismal things are at his former club:

I can't see a way out. I think they are down now. The whole club is flat. It looks as though they are going down with a whimper.

I think it's gone through all the club. It's flat on the terraces, it's flat on the pitch and a club that is close to my heart are going down. They are not good enough.

Since that moment, David Moyes has subsequently threatened to 'slap' a female reporter and his side have lost a further three games on the bounce without scoring a goal. Heaven knows what Reid would make of the mood now.

Indeed Peter Reid knows all too well how soulless a dispirited Stadium of Light can be. His final two years at Sunderland were pretty grim and the labour of those last nine months with him at the helm saw millions lavished on rubbish. Sacked in October 2002, the Black Cats would limp on to a miserable 19 points and relegation in the wake of those final days of his reign.

Peter Reid as Sunderland boss in 2002
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Reid saved Sunderland in the dismal mid-90s and oversaw the finest years most of the current generation of match-going Mackems have lived through. But he was also stubborn, seemingly random in the transfer market and left Wearside with question marks over the state he left the club in that he had done so much to build up.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough X
A fan is led away after confronting Peter Reid as his side lost to Middlesbrough in January 2002

Arsenal game finally announced

Ok, so we predicted the fixture would be announced last Friday - it was supposed to be - but those pesky scamps at Sky have had their oar in for the last few days and delayed confirmation of a host of Premier League fixtures which required rearranging.

Sunderland v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Matthew Ashton/Getty Images

One of them was Sunderland's trip to Arsenal which is now confirmed for 7.45pm on the 16th May.

Sky have snaffled the rights for ten games in the final seven games of the Premier League campaign though none of them feature David Moyes' men.

Farewell Januzaj

Seemingly put up for sale by Jose Mourinho this week, Adnan Januzaj already has a host of suitors despite his disappointing season at Sunderland.

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League
Januzaj in his most recent appearance at Vicarage Road
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Stats rarely tell a full story, but in the case of the 22-year-old Manchester United player they probably do. Januzaj has played in 21 Premier League games this season and provided 3 assists and weighed in with zero goals. A paltry for return for a winger / number ten.

But the prospect of signing a Red Devil with a decade at the top level in the game ahead of him is too enticing for a whole host of top clubs in Europe. Juventus, Inter Milan, Napoli, Monaco, Lyon, Paris St Germain and Marseille have all been credited with an interest in signing the Belgian at the end of his loan deal at Sunderland.

Tellingly, not one Premier League club though.

Batshuayi wears Denayer

Michy Batshuayi has set tongues wagging that he may be set for a move from Chelsea to Istanbul in the summer.

The source of this mooted switch? The fact he wore a Galatasaray shirt bearing the name of Jason Denayer in a recent 5-aside match.

Take our word for it - "Denayer" is on the back of his shirt.

Jason Denayer may yet end up back at Galatasaray after being on the verge of rejoining the Turkish giants last summer following a successful season on loan before he joined Sunderland. Reports from Istanbul continue to link the Manchester City man with a return to the Turk Telecon Arena this summer.

Lucky ref allocated

Andre Marriner will take charge of Saturday's clash with West Ham at the Stadium of Light.

Crystal Palace v Sunderland - Premier League
Andre Marriner
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

A good omen perhaps as with Sunderland having only won five games all season, the West Midlands-born referee has been the official for two of them - one being the last time David Moyes' men won or scored in a game at Crystal Palace ten weeks ago. Marriner was also in charge for the 2-1 victory over Leicester in December.

Vote for 'golden boy'

Recognition for Joel Asoro - of sorts - the young Sunderland forward is included in a list of 100 young talented footballers from around Europe in a poll being run by Italian outlet Tutto Sport to find the most promising prospect.

Burnley v Sunderland - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Replay
Joel Asoro during the FA Cup third round replay with Burnley
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

You can vote for the Swedish Black Cat here.

Asoro joins the likes of Everton's Tom Davies, Ousmane Dembelé of Borussia Dortmund and Manchester City's Gabriel Jesus in the poll to be named 'Golden Boy'.

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