Alim Öztürk was born in Alkmaar in the Netherlands in November 1992. He would make his debut for Dutch Eerste Divisie side SC Cambuur in 2011.
It would only take thirteen appearances before a move to Trabzonspor in 2013 where he would fail to break into the first team. This was followed by a much more successful move to Scotland where he joined Heart of Midlothian.
Öztürk would spend three years in Scotland before moving back to Turkey when he joined Boluspor in 2017 on an eighteen month contract, eventually making the move to Sunderland on a free transfer in June 2018.
His opening season brought a mixed bag of fortunes for the big defender, making twenty appearances and was an unused substitute on thirty occasions.
Loovens would make his break through at Feyenoord in 2001, making his debut in the team that won the UEFA Cup. Five years and twenty-seven appearances later, Loovens would move to Cardiff City for a reported £250.000.
After two years in the welsh capital, both old firm clubs Rangers and Celtic battled for his signature with Celtic closing the deal with a bid of £2.1 million.
Loovens quit Parkhead after three years heading for Spain in the form of Real Zaragoza. This lasted one season before a move to South Yorkshire and Sheffield Wednesday. This was initially short term but would stay for five years making over 130 appearances at Hillsborough.
Signing for Sunderland after his release from the Owls, Loovens failed through fitness and lack of form to be the steady, experienced defender we’d hoped he would be in his first season - let’s hope his experience counts for more this year.
Ruiter looked like a good free transfer by the club in the summer of 2017 under Simon Grayson. He had spent eight years building up a solid reputation in the Netherlands with FC Volendam and FC Utrecht.
Fighting for the number one slot with Jason Steele and Lee Camp, Ruiter would make up a trio that would make up one of the clubs worst in terms of goalkeeping options. After initially looking competent in pre-season, Ruiter would make a number of errors during the season followed by a serious inury that would keep him out for most of the year.
In his second year and following our relegation to the third tier, Ruiter would spend the year as understudy to Jon McLaughlin ahead of a move to PSV on a free transfer in June 2019.
Patrick Van Aaanholt
After making the grade in the youth ranks at Chelsea, PVA would make his debut out on loan at Coventry City in 2009. This would be one of five loan spells from Chelsea between 2009 and 2014 including, Newcastle United, Leicester City, Wigan Athletic and Vitesse.
A permanent transfer followed to Sunderland in 2014 for £1.5 million. He would make 82 League appearances for the Lads scoring seven goals whilst on Wearside. Good going forward but suspect positioning when defending he would have the ability to split fan opinions.
Despite question marks Sam Allardyce managed to talk Crystal Palace into parting with £14 million for the player when he re-surfaces following his England debacle.
Starting his career at AZ in 2006 he would make his debut at nineteen years of age and spend the next four years on the books that included a one year loan to NEC.
It would be in 2010 that his career took off with a move to PSV. Three years in Eindhoven would yield almost 100 League appearances ad over thirty goals.
In the summer of 2013 Lens was transferred to the Ukraine via Dynamo Kiev where he would spend two years ahead of a move back to warmer climates to follow Dick Advocaat to Sunderland in 2015.
A frustrating figure at Sunderland before Sam Allardyce took over, would turn into a forgotten figure when frozen out of first team affairs for not participating in a post-match warm down.
Lens left for Turkey where has had spells with Besiktas and Fenerbahce.
Boudewijn ”Bolo” Zenden
Bolo Zenden started his career at PSV where he’d make over 100 League appearances between 1993 and 1998 before Spanish giants Barcelona came calling.
Joining the swelling Dutch ranks at Barcelona under Louis Van Gaal, Zenden would enjoy a successful three years making over sixty League appearances before a £7.5 million move to Chelsea in 2001.
Injuries and form would disrupt his time at Stamford Bridge and moves to Middlesbrough, Liverpool and Marseille followed. Despite interest from Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth, Steve Bruce managed to persuade Zenden to sign for Sunderland in October 2009 after his release from Marseille.
A clearly classy player but due to fitness and his age he was mainly deployed as a substitute for Sunderland until retiring in May 2011.
Loek Ursem’s career in English football seemed to hinge entirely on the faith of Alan Durban. As manager of Stoke City, Durban spotted Ursem during youth international tournament and decided to bring him to England, signing for the Potters in 1979.
Deployed on the right of midfield, Ursem made forty League appearances scoring seven goals between 1979 and 1982. During this time he would have a brief loan spell at Sunderland, following Alan Durban’s move to the Roker Park hot seat.
His four substitute appearances would not be enough to make his move permanent and a move back to the Netherlands would follow.