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Third Worst in Europe - Figures expose how bad Sunderland transfer business is & 3 more talking points

In this morning's news roundup - fresh figures reveal just how poor Sunderland's recruitment has been; one player launches his own self-titled glossy mag; a soon-to-be free agent goalkeeper looks just the ticket & Jeremain Lens could soon be cashed in.

Sunderland v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

According to the CIES Football Observatory, Sunderland's spending on transfers compared with performance on the pitch rates as amongst the very worst in Europe this season.

The football research body have published an overview of how expenditure on players relates to points per match. Whilst the figures confirm a 'positive and significant correlation' between performance and fees paid across Europe's five biggest leagues, Sunderland are one of the few clubs to buck the trend.

Indeed, only Valencia CF and Wolfsberg fare worse in the 'value for money' stakes in a study of transfer effectiveness across teams in England, Spain, France, Germany and Italy.

With Sunderland relegated before May commenced and slumped forlornly at the bottom of the Premier League, the figures will come as little surprise to most. But set in graphical format [below] the impact of a continually dreadful player recruitment strategy at the Stadium of Light is yet again slammed home.

Indeed in his post-drop statement on Saturday night, Black Cats' owner Ellis Short made a notable point of identifying player trading as the single biggest issue at his club:

I acknowledge that during my ownership mistakes have been made, particularly in the area of player recruitment, and as a result we have found ourselves struggling to survive in recent seasons.

The figures from the CIES Observatory rank Sunderland's squad as having been assembled for the 12th biggest outlay in the Premier League with a current - and likely final - league placing of 20th in return for that investment.

Perhaps of even greater concern - if Sunderland's squad is roughly assumed to have been put together for a cool €133m - just how much has this season and the impact of relegation depreciated that value?

Aside from Jordan Pickford, there literally isn't another Black Cat who has likely inflated in price.

Which player has just launched his own glossy self-titled mag?

Stuck for something to browse at lunch-time? Missing his flowing locks since that mysterious 'knock' which kept him out of the side against Bournemouth on Saturday?

Then why not check out 'J' - Jason Denayer's new self-titled, glossy magazine all about - well - Jason.

In an astonishing lack of self-awareness, the 21-year-old Manchester City player who has made zero first team appearances at the Etihad and who has been part of the Sunderland side relegated this season, introduces his new venture:

Hi everybody,

being a professional footballer is any young boy's dream, and I consider myself to be lucky to be living it. This e-magazine is my way of sharing a piece of that dream with you. I will unfold my personal stories and throw in some stats and insights about my life in football. I will also add some cool stuff I just need to share. I know this is not your average newsletter. But then again, who needs another of those ;-) ?

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

To mark his new public relations assult, Denayer said in an interview with Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure:

I never felt at ease in front a forest of microphones, it's just not me. My place of expression is the field where I give myself body and soul.

Elsewhere, the defender - who will exit the Stadium of Light at the end of this month - told another Belgian newspaper - Het Nieuwsblad - in a seperate interview last week that he lives ten minutes from Newcastle airport and heads back to Brussels when he gets a couple of days off but that his tricky season on loan at Sunderland has improved him as a player:

The game is much faster here and you can afford far fewer mistakes than in Turkey for example. I have learned this season.

Denayer also confirms he has no idea where he will be playing his football next season but recent reports appear to suggest Pep Guardiola will send him out on loan again.

It's Ruddy-well destined to happen

Norwich City have announced they will release seven players at the end of the season. One of whom is John Ruddy, who was supposedly a target for Sunderland last year.

Norwich City v Sunderland - Premier League
John Ruddy and Jermain Defoe last April
Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images

With Jordan Pickford almost certain to leave the Stadium of Light this summer, and Vito Mannone seemingly keen to follow suit, the 30-year-old may well fit the bill as a cheap replacement for Sunderland - a club with no money.

David Moyes supposedly lodged a bid for Ruddy on transfer deadline day last summer but having been knocked back, the Black Cats' boss launched a late move for Boavista goalie Mika Domingues instead.

What odds Ruddy and Mika being Sunderland's two 'keepers in the second-tier next season?

Lens to Galatasary or Besiktas is still on

Reports last week indicated Sunderland outcast Jeremain Lens was on the verge of agreeing a season-long extension to his current loan at Fenerbahce.

Netherlands v Costa Rica: Quarter Final - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images

But Turkish media reports have reacted to the Black Cats' relegation with glee, expecting that any of the Supa Lig's big trio - Fener, Galatasaray or Besiktas - could end up with the 29-year-old winger next season on a cheap deal to exploit Sunderland's necessity to cash in what saleable assets they possess.

Lens has repeatedly reaffirmed his desire to stay at Fenerbahce, the club currently managed by Dick Advocaat. The veteran coach is due to retire from football at the end of the season, but in true 'Advocaat-style' he's currently being linked with the vacant Netherlands national team job.

Manchester United FC v Fenerbahce SK - UEFA Europa League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

He wouldn't un-retire again, would he?

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