Hannover cast doubt on Papy move
The transfer window finally closes for most of Europe today, although the window remains open in Portugal until September 21, so the club will be very busy trying to find new clubs for Papy Djilobodji and Didier Ndong.
Hannover were said to be pushing hard to sign Djilobodji after the cost of Timm Klose of Norwich City proved excesive for the German club but speaking ahead of their game against Borussia Dortmund, Horst Heldt was non-committal when asked about the 29-year-old:
Djilobodji may have been a favorite with many people, but I think both the coach and I have never really confirmed that, so you have to live with it when you speculate.
When asked if the defender was still a possibility, Heldt hinted that they may never have been particularly interested in the Senegalese international:
Was he a candidate? ... Exactly, I’ll leave that in the room.
Ross on Christie
Should Sunderland shift one of Djilobodji or Ndong today, then that may well see another new arrival at Sunderland as Jack Ross confirmed that a departure could spark an incoming transfer quite quickly.
Speaking in the pre-match press conference ahead of the home game with Oxford United, Ross confirmed that any new arrivals depends on the AWOL duo leaving but did say that Celtic’s Ryan Christie is a player he would be interested in:
Ryan [Christie] obviously isn’t playing much at Celtic at the moment, though he did come off the bench in a league game at the weekend.
He’ll have interest from elsewhere and we’re not in position where we can do anything immediately. That may be problematic for us as these hours wind down. It may not be, things could change [with Djilobodji and Ndong].
There’s been dialogue with clubs so we could potentially move something forward quite quickly. But because the deadline is longer in some European countries, that complicates it again. In theory the two players players could still sit it out.
It has been a saga, it’s been rubbish for Tony [Coton] and Richard [Hill], time consuming and stopped them focusing on the positive aspects of the club.
It is sad in a lot of ways, they’re footballers, they should want to play.
Christie featured for Celtic last night in their 3-0 (4-1 on aggregate) Europa League qualifying win over Lithuanian champions Suduva.
The 23-year-old replaced Leigh Griffiths with 25 minutes remaining and was in the thick of the action immediately.
Toivonen heads down under
Former Sunderland striker Ola Toivonen had been linked with a move to Championship side Swansea City but has instead made a surprise move to A-League outfit Melbourne Victory.
Toivonen was coming off the back of a relatively successful World Cup with Sweden, which included a goal against Germany in the group stages and those displays have seen him snapped by the Australian club where he will line up alongside Japanese star Keisuke Honda.
The 32-year-old retired from international duty earlier this week and heads down under with 64 caps and 14 goals for his country.
Youngster on York move
Academy product Fergus McAughtrie signed for York City in the summer after being released by Sunderland and the 18-year-old was a surprise inclusion into the Minstermen’s starting line-up for the game against Brackley at the weekend.
The game finished 0-0 but McAughtrie received plaudits for his debut display, and the youngster explained that playing for Sunderland’s academy wasn’t ‘realistic football’:
At Sunderland, I was playing lads my age and it’s not realistic football. It wasn’t getting any stronger and, while my first 45 minutes was alright at Brackley, I started tiring because I was playing against fully-grown men and my body hasn’t fully developed yet, but I will keep improving with games.
The left sided player is from York originally, where his father David also played, and is delighted he got a chance to continue his professional career:
I was part of Colin Sanderson’s development shadow squad here at the age of six when we used to play little five-a-sides, but then I had five years at Leeds before going to Sunderland, where I got released in the summer. I then went on trial with Leeds, Sheffield Wednesday and Barnsley.
I also went to Dundee United for two weeks and nothing happened there. I really enjoyed it though.
It was difficult being away from the family, but I played men’s football and the training was really hard, so it was good experience and it prepared me for coming to York City and competing with older players. After Scotland, I still wanted to play football, but I was looking to go part-time because nothing was coming up.
Then, I got a call from Martin Gray and he told me to get my bum off my bed and come and train here. I told myself: ‘This is the last opportunity to try and play full-time football,’ so I’ve given 100 per cent and it’s worked out.