Kirchhoff on transfer mistakes
Jan Kirchhoff was a guest on the Roker Rapport podcast recently - which will be available on Saturday morning - and spoke at length about his time at Sunderland.
One of the subjects brought up was the club’s failure to sign Yann M’Vila. Sunderland had the chance to sign the midfielder from Rubin Kazan and M’Vila was keen to return to the club but for David Moyes to splash the cash on Didier Ndong instead.
When asked about that transfer decision, Kirchhoff said that was a huge mistake and that money was wasted on making the squad worse than it was during the previous season:
Definitely a huge mistake.
I’m not scared to say what I think openly and it was a massive mismanagement that summer of transfers. We spent a lot of money, I read a lot about how we didn’t and how we didn’t have the support of the owner but we ended up spending something like £38 million on players.
We bought players to replace other players. We signed a defender to replace Kaboul, a midfielder to replace Yann, we didn’t sign Yedlin on a permanent. You underestimate what losing senior players like Ola Toivonen and Wes Brown from the squad caused, too.
The squad’s quality dropped from one day to another so drastically and we filled it up with youth players that were talented, but far from ready.
In the end it didn’t work out and we spent loads of money on replacements that were not as good as the players we had let go.
Kirchhoff reiterated how desperate M’Vila was to return to the club and rued the club not re-signing DeAndre Yedlin after his loan spell from Tottenham expired:
What I know is he what literally at the airport on the day. He spoke to the club a lot and remained in contact with Younes, Wahbi and Lamine throughout the entire time. He was desperate to come back because, like me, he had such a great time.
You sometimes underestimate players like DeAndre Yedlin, too. From an outside perspective £4.5 million might seem too much for players like him, but he was important. The same with Younes and we let him go so cheap. You can’t explain this.
It got to a point where John [O’Shea] was number one choice again and, nothing bad against John, but he was happy to be back up and we had a central defenders that had done so well just broken up.
The dressing room losing these players changed the atmosphere too and... it just wasn’t good.
You can listen to the podcast with Kirchhoff as soon as it is released on Saturday morning by subscribing on iTunes, Acast, Spotify or YouTube, entering ‘Roker Rapport into your nearest search engine or by following us on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram).
A transcript of the full interview will also be available from the beginning of next week on RokerReport.com.
Pools trial for under 23 captain
Sunderland youngster Adam Bale has joined National League outfit Hartlepool United on trial.
Bale, who has captained Sunderland at both the under-18 and under-23 levels, played for Hartlepool in a behind-closed-doors friendly against Middlesbrough last week.
The 20-year-old has featured for the under-23s 10 times this season but the emergence of young midfield duo Bali Mumba and Dan Neil has made competition for places fierce in the development squad.
Bale has been joined on trial at Pools by academy graduate Rees Greenwood, who also played in the friendly against Boro. Greenwood is a free agent after being released by Falkirk back in October.
Mannone completes MLS move
Former Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone has completed his loan move to Major League Soccer side Minnesota United.
Mannone had fallen out of favour at Reading after the arrival of Jose Gomes as the club’s new manager and joins Minnesota on a loan deal until the end of the 2019 MLS season.
Although initially only a loan, the club and player have already explored the possibility of making the move permanent but Mannone says that will be for a future date:
I look forward to staying here and enjoying my time, we spoke to the club already. If my family is happy and I’m happy, maybe we look to the future and we go from there.
Obviously if both parties are happy, it’s a discussion we will have in 10 months time. To be honest, it’s difficult to say now.