According to widespread reports, Besiktas have agreed a fee for Jeremain Lens and the Dutch winger will depart Wearside for Istanbul within the next 48 hours.
The Sunderland Echo have this morning further claimed that the deal, once announced, will contain that the fee for Lens is undisclosed. And that appears to be for a very good reason.
The Turkish champions are set to bag a bargain and pay Sunderland just 4 million euros for the 29-year-old. That’s around 3.5 million pounds at today’s exchange rate.
So we understand from Emre Sarigul, who writes for the Guardian on all things Super Lig and is the man behind Turkish-football.com, who confirmed the deal last night.
Lens will sign for Besiktas on a three-year contract and earn £40,000 a week. Not bad business for the club currently deemed the ‘Chelsea of Turkey’ due to their relative spending power and plans to dominate the Super Lig for years to come.
Undisclosed fees are increasingly common in football, usually declared to save face. And such is the case here.
The Black Cats stand to make a whopping loss on Jeremain Lens. The Dutchman, who only ever made 20 appearances in a Sunderland shirt, signed for a fee thought to have been worth £11m, with a potential rise to £13m with add-ons, just two years ago.
That deficit is all the starker considering the Dutchman proved such a hit in Turkey last season and earned a recall to the Netherlands national side, from which he had been largely absent since the 2014 World Cup.
Lens scored five goals and provided seventeen assists for a Fenerbahce side managed by former Sunderland boss Dick Advocaat last term. The veteran coach departed the Istanbul club at the end of a hit-and-miss campaign which saw one of Turkey’s ‘big three’ finish third in the league.
Fenerbahce were desperate to keep hold of one of the new stars of Turkish football but have increasingly found their options limited this summer by Financial Fair Play restrictions.
There is perhaps one further reason for Sunderland keeping the amount of cash they will receive from Besiktas for Lens private.
With Simon Grayson’s summer rebuild thus far costing a pittance - with loan arrangements and cheap deals bringing in reinforcements - most observers have assumed the Sunderland boss will receive some further cash to bring in a couple more new faces from the sale of the likes of Jeremain Lens and Lamine Kone.
Keeping the Lens money under wraps means Grayson continues to hold his apparent remaining budget from view.
Sadly, Lens could have meant the difference between a mediocre campaign and a promotion push - such is his quality. The player made little secret of his desire to leave Sunderland and was merely duty-bound to return this summer, keep himself fit and enable a decent deal for his next destination.
The Dutchman has achieved just that. And we’ll now never know if he could have tortured Championship defences and brought a little return for that big fee paid out in 2015.