Didier Ndong & Papy Djilobodji
The longest running - and most tediously boring - transfer sagas of the summer have revolved around AWOL African pair Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong who, despite months of promise that they’d leave, are still officially employees of Sunderland AFC.
You have to wonder what on earth they were thinking when they decided that they wouldn’t be turning up for work at the start of pre-season. They’ve been horrendously advised - all that their behaviour has done is show them both up as unprofessional, something which I have no doubt has put off potential suitors from parting with huge sums of cash to take them off our hands.
There will of course be clubs willing to sign them both, but the deal has to work for Sunderland too, which is where I understand things have been slightly difficult.
The club are well within their rights to hold out for the money that they feel we deserve in return for the purchase of Ndong and Papy, and right from the off we were told that we won’t allow agents or other clubs to take advantage of us any longer.
It feels almost certain that in the case of these two players it’ll go right down to the last day of the transfer window. The agents of the players will hope that by leaving it as late as possible they’ll be able to squeeze as much as they can from both deals, placing the pressure on Sunderland to fold and let them leave on terms that don’t exactly suit us.
Whatever happens it’ll be interesting - fingers crossed we will be rid of both of them once September 1st rolls around.
Lee Cattermole & Bryan Oviedo
It was only a handful of weeks ago that both of these players seemed completely out of favour at Sunderland but, to their credit, both of them have handled their own situations professionally and now it feels as though we could really do with holding onto them if we’re going to achieve anything this season.
As Sunderland writer James Hunter correctly pointed out on more than one occasion this week on the Roker Rapport Podcast, the financial situation at the club means that whilst we may want to hang on to both players, should good offers come along for either or both we may be forced into selling them.
The big reason neither of them have left yet is because of their wages - simply put, the teams capable of affording them are probably sceptical knowing they’re damaged goods and have been part of back-to-back relegations. Though those fears may have been allayed somewhat by their positive starts to life in the third tier, and any scout watching must surely have been impressed by their recent performances.
I don’t feel like either of them will leave but then, on the other hand, I wouldn’t rule it out either. If a bigger club chucks a loan offer our way where they cover the majority of their wages along with a sizeable fee, I think our heads may be turned. Watch this space.
This one has rumbled beneath the surface throughout the summer - McGeady is evidently a level above League One but the fact that he’s not even had a pre-season yet has hampered any chances the club may have harboured of shifting him along. I have no doubt that we’d have received interest in him had he remained fit and part of Jack Ross’ plans, and whilst we’d love to have his talents to call upon this season it may be the case that someone takes a gamble on signing him which, in turn, frees us up to sign someone else.
We know that Sunderland are very interested in Ryan Christie from Celtic, and the suggestion last week seemed to be that McGeady may go in the other direction as part of any potential deal. Whether it happens or not isn’t yet known, but I wouldn’t be surprised if interest in McGeady suddenly picked up on the final day of the window.
There are a number of first team youngsters that would definitely benefit from loan spells away from the club, and with first-teamers now returning from injury it frees some of them up to head out on short-terms deals as they bid to prove themselves whilst playing regular first team football.
Andrew Nelson has been injured which has hampered his chances of moving to Falkirk again, and having sacked their manager that deal could now be off the table.
Elliot Embleton is probably the most promising player in our youth ranks at present but without a clear route into the first team as of yet, he’d certainly benefit from moving either to another League One side or even perhaps a team playing in League Two.
Another U23s player, Connor Shields, is likely to leave too with clubs north of the border apparently interested in taking him off our hands. Second-tier side Morton had been linked, so let’s wait and see what happens with the former Albion Rovers man.