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GOOD, BAD & UGLY: Those that left Sunderland in the summer - how’s it going at their new clubs?

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Sunderland underwent a huge overhaul of playing staff in the summer, and frustratingly most of them ended up at higher-placed clubs. But how are they doing since moving on, and are any of them proving our club & supporters wrong?

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Billy Jones - Rotherham Utd (free transfer)

Jones has been talking in the press in recent days about his move to Rotherham from Sunderland, commenting on how “horrible” it was to be around Wearside last year - and whilst we understand where he’s coming from, that’s what watching his four seasons at the club were like too.

But how’s he doing down in south Yorkshire with the Championship new-boys?

Well, after a tough start he’s managed to muscle his way into Paul Warne’s hard-working side and has started in each of their last four games - although they’ve won only one of them, and sit just outside the relegation places in 20th.

Operating as an orthodox right back in each of those four games, Jones’ impact has been limited and the Millers have kept only one clean sheet in that time.

It does seem rather flattering to Jones that whilst we operate in the third tier, he’s still getting a game in the Championship despite being so inexplicably poor for us in that division last season - but with both parties moving on to new challenges, we won’t hold that against him.

Rotherham United v Stoke City - Sky Bet Championship Photo by George Wood/Getty Images

Joel Asoro - Swansea (£2m with add ons)

At the time of his departure it would probably be fair to say that, if asked, most fans would have rather held onto the young Swede than current top scorer Josh Maja - but hindsight is a wonderful thing and you have to wonder if, while warming Swansea’s bench, he looks at his free-scoring former academy strike partner with even just a slight tinge of envy.

Swansea sit pretty much bang on mid-table and are pulling up no trees following their relegation for the top tier - and the same can be said for the 20-year-old Asoro, who has only started four games (failing to complete a full 90 minutes in any of them), scoring zero goals and only assisting with one.

Whilst he has obvious talent, maybe he’ll be regretting pushing for a move come season’s end. Though his current team play at a higher level, Asoro could have instead been playing every week in a team winning games, with a forward-thinking, attack-minded manager in charge that would undoubtedly have gotten the best from him.

Swansea City v Crystal Palace - Carabao Cup Second Round Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Lamine Kone - Strasbourg (Season long-loan)

Remember him? A player once worth an alleged £18m deteriorated rapidly, and has truly had a fall from grace since that glorious win over Everton back in May 2016.

Kone now spends his time warming the bench of a mid-table Ligue 1 side, and has appeared only three times for the French club as he strives to makes up for his lack of a proper pre-season at Sunderland.

So far he’s failed to impress in the north of France, playing only 120 minutes of football in total, and according to one report in the french media he’s looked ‘slow, sluggish and easily beaten in the air’.

Strasbourg might want to look at getting Younes Kaboul in during the winter transfer window - we know ourselves from past experience that the former Spurs captain is the only man capable of getting 100% from Kone on the pitch!

RC Strasbourg Alsace

Paddy McNair - Middlesbrough (£5m)

A man who really came to prominence at the back end of last season and the player most fans wanted to build around was also a man who demanded to leave the club in the summer for pastures new.

Looking back I think that it’s fair to say that, as our most talented player, most of us expected McNair to eventually depart, so when Middlesbrough won the race for his signature it wasn’t a huge shock and we were able to move on quickly.

Unfortunately for the Northern Ireland international, his move hasn’t really worked out so far - in fact he hasn’t even started a league game for the Boro, and when he has made an appearance it’s been in defence as opposed to his much-preferred position as a box-to-box midfielder.

He’s only 23 year old and the season is still young, but for Paddy the grass certainly hasn’t been greener so far and he’ll undoubtedly be frustrated at the lack of opportunities he’s been afforded by Tony Pulis.

Middlesbrough FC

John O’Shea - Reading (Free transfer)

With no new contract on offer for last season’s Player of the Year, O’Shea opted to continue on playing elsewhere and ended up at Paul Clement’s Reading - but if his record so far with the Royals tells us anything, he probably shouldn’t have.

The former Republic of Ireland international looked slow and ponderous in the one match he started for Reading in the League this term, and their fans won’t have been too surprised when he was sent off for a cynical foul on Chris Martin in true “I am running in treacle and he’s got past me” O’Shea style.

He’s undoubtedly a decent bloke and a great professional to have around the place, but O’Shea hasn’t played a great deal and I have to wonder whether he wishes that he’d called time on his playing career during the summer when it seemed most likely that he would.

Jason Dawson

Jack Rodwell - Blackburn Rovers (free transfer)

Whenever I get to talking to someone about Sunderland’s turbulent last decade that resulted in us tumbling down the leagues, I always tend to, in the end, find myself muttering “Jack f**king Rodwell, £10m” under my breath.

When we look back on this era of terror in years to come we’ll likely use the decision to award such an unbelievable contract to a player that did so little for us as a major reason for why the club ended up the way that it did.

When Rodwell left the club finally this summer I, like the rest of the Sunderland fanbase, beamed with joy - and I was a little bemused when he eventually rocked up at Championship outfit Blackburn Rovers claiming to have turned over a new leaf.

In fairness to Rodwell, it appears that he’s quietly impressing at his new club and he was even credited as the reason why Rovers were able to nab all three points away at Bolton Wanderers last time out.

The terms of his deal with the recently-promoted Lancashire outfit are vastly different to those he sat on at Sunderland and, as such, he’ll have to work hard if he wants to earn a decent wage - all the motivation any player should need to knuckle down and work hard.


Jason Steele - Brighton (Free transfer)

If it wasn’t for the existence of Lee Camp, Steele would rightly be seen as the worst goalkeeper in that this club has ever had.

The red card he picked up away at QPR will haunt our dreams forevermore, but there was so much more than that to it and when Blackburn fans told us they’d had our pants down when we signed him, someone at the club probably should have listened.

That said, it beggars belief that he finds himself part of a Premier League squad now, doesn’t it? The Teessider left to join up with Chris Hughton’s Brighton during the summer and whilst on the face of it that appears to be a good move for him all things considered, he went there knowing that he’d only be third choice - ambition personified, there.

His only football this season has been with their second string - two appearances for the U23s in their league and one for the U21s in the Checkatrade Trophy - and its unlikely that, unless injuries strike, Steele will ever see first team action at the Amex Stadium.

Arsenal v Brighton & Hove Albion: Premier League 2 Photo by Harriet Lander/Getty Images

Marc Wilson - Bolton (Free transfer)

Another player who was completely out of his depth playing for Sunderland in the Championship yet has somehow found himself at a club further up the league ladder following our relegation - Republic of Ireland defender Marc Wilson hasn’t really done too badly in finding himself at Bolton Wanderers when you consider just how poor he looked in red and white last season.

For the 31-year-old, things have gone as most expected.

He’s barely played, been injured a fair bit and even got himself sent off for a denying a goal-scoring opportunity in the game against Ipswich Town in September.

I’m sure Wanderers fans are discovering what we found out last year, that Marc Wilson is a frustrating footballer that offers very little to a side in the way of positives.

Sadly Bolton - like Sunderland last season - don’t have very much money and signing over-the-hill players like Wilson is the market that they find themselves in as they attempt to stay up again on a shoe-string budget.

Bolton News

Callum McManaman - Wigan (Undisclosed)

McManaman was, to our frustration, enjoying a decent spell of form during pre-season under Jack Ross, but ultimately he was swayed by nostalgia and reunited with his former club Wigan a few weeks before the season began.

McManaman has had a decent start to life back at Wigan, starting eight games in all competitions and only finding himself out of the team because of injury - and with the Latics sat in 12th place following their return to the second tier, it’s fair to concede that the decision made by the former West Brom man to move back to the club where he enjoyed his best football was probably the best move for him and his career.

Wigan Atheltic FC