Bids in for Ndong
Didier Ndong has been in demand this week as he looks to engineer a move away from the Stadium of Light, with Cardiff, Lyon, Galatasaray and teams in Italy all being linked with a move for the player.
Speaking to BBC Newcastle’s Total Sport, Stewart Donald gave an update on the transfer situation at the club and noted that serious offers had been tabled for one player in particular:
There are other clubs interested in a lot of our players and we’ve turned down bids for some of them. The bigger issue is not whether we can afford to keep them but whether those players want to stay.
We’ve got a player at the moment that we were offered €3m for. We said no, all of a sudden it’s at €7.5m and that’s a much more acceptable figure. We might be close on that one.
We believe that player to be Didier Ndong, and although it will mean taking a loss on our record signing, if such a figure was to be re-invested back into the playing squad it would be a huge amount by League One standards.
You can listen to Donald and Charlie Methven’s appearance on Total Sport by clicking HERE.
Plaudits for O’Shea
John O’Shea is about to play his last game for the Republic of Ireland. After 17 years and 116 appearances, O’Shea will win his 117th and final cap when the Irish play the United States at the Aviva Stadium of Saturday.
Ahead of the game, the 37-year-old has received plenty of praise as former managers and team-mates pay tribute to his international career.
Former Sunderland manager Roy Keane led those plaudits, while hoping O’Shea was a bit unhinged when he’s off-duty:
I remember him as a young player at United and thinking ‘this kid’s got a chance’ - decent player. Strangely enough, he always seemed really balanced. We’ve talked about all the pitfalls in football, but John always seemed to be really switched on.
But listen, he could be a raving lunatic when he’s at home in the evenings – I hope he is. I hope he’s a head-case and we’re all proved wrong when he’s locked up in six months and we’re all saying ‘Jesus, I never saw that coming’.
No, but I don’t think so. He’ll probably have a nice steady life, probably become a coach or a pundit.
O’Shea’s former manager for Ireland, Brian Kerr, also gave credit to the defender:
A tall, lovely, smiley-headed gentleman. More words would be dedicated, passionate about the game, a smashing adaptable player, courteous but with an inner steel that allowed him to survive.
He survived among the egos at Manchester United for years and years and collected trophies and medals to beat the band. There was never a hint of any controversy or rows or any of that. He was just there and he played when he was picked.
When you think of Manchester United, he played in every position, including in goal and centre forward! A great, great fella. He was a brilliant player for so many managers.
Kerr also revealed that he believes O’Shea will play on for at least one more season at club level and explained how difficult the last year has been for him, after the deaths of his father and Liam Miller:
I know this year was difficult for him in terms of losing his dad and losing Liam Miller, who was very very close to John. They were great mates. But I don’t think this will be his last match. It’ll be his last match for Ireland, but I think John will play on for another year.
Finally, O’Shea’s former international team-mate Keith Andrews thinks he will go into management once his playing days are over, and rejects any suggestion that O’Shea is ‘too nice’ to succeed:
You don’t last that long in the professional game unless you have a streak of ‘I’m looking after myself here’, I wouldn’t have seen a lot of it, but I’d imagine if things need to be said, he’s not one to shy away from it. He’s not this shy and retiring type. Public perception can sometimes be a little distorted from reality. John O’Shea can absolutely look after himself, there’s no doubt about that.
If he wants to go up that [managerial] ladder, he’ll have to upset people and I wouldn’t see that being an issue. I think he’s got a huge presence. He wouldn’t be hugely vocal in terms of the dressing room and the training ground. But when he speaks, players tend to listen because he’s hugely respected.
In terms of his temperament, his experience, if he wants to go into that line of work, what he’s gone through at Sunderland will hold him in such good stead. The experiences he’s had there, the managers, the ups, the downs and the downs and downs - he will have got so much from that, from going from a top club to the contrast.
Sunderland were recently linked with a £3m move for Hibernian midfielder John McGinn.
The Scotland international has also been linked with a move to Celtic, and speaking ahead of the game against Mexico, McGinn revealed that it would take something special to see him leave Easter Road:
I still have a year to go at Hibs and I love it there. It will definitely need something really special to come along. The speculation is there because I have been playing well. I just have to deal with it.
I am glad to be on the other side of the world, if I am honest. I am aware of what’s being said. I wake up to different speculation, but that’s something I cannot control. It’s good to get away from it.
Another Scottish star linked with a move to Sunderland is Celtic’s Lewis Morgan.
Morgan had been playing for Jack Ross at St Mirren, but transferred to Celtic in January before immediately re-joining the Saints on loan until the end of last season.
According to the Scottish Sun, Ross wants to bring the attacking midfielder to Wearside on loan. Morgan made his international debut against Peru on Tuesday and, like McGinn, is in the Scotland squad to face Mexico on Saturday.