Kenwyne Jones’s contribution to Sunderland during their formative years in the Premier League shouldn’t be underestimated.
Roy Keane’s long drawn out chase of the Trinidad and Tobago man was certainly worth the wait given the contribution he made to the club over his three year stint.
Jones contributed 26 in 94 games for the club - and whilst it may not be perceived to be such an extraordinary number of goals, his game was a lot more than just scoring. Physically, the striker was a colossus - making life difficult for defenders with his unrivalled aerial threat.
It is not dramatic to suggest that he was a match for some of the best defenders in the league - with the then England captain John Terry even stating to the media how difficult a task he had against him when they played against each other.
Jones was fantastic against us and I have played against him twice now.
He is a very good player, very hard working and probably the best in the air in the entire Premier League. He really is that good.
All the lads were talking about him afterwards in the dressing room, saying how well he did and how impressive he was. If Sunderland can stay up and keep hold of him they have a fantastic chance of kicking on.
High praise indeed - but it was this sort of praise that was beginning to worry Sunderland fans who began to ponder if we’d struggle to keep hold of our prized asset.
January 2009 was the first time that bigger teams began testing Sunderland’s resolve. Spurs’ Harry Redknapp was known to be a massive fan of the striker - making more than one bid to try and obtain the services of the striker.
Thankfully, at that stage, Jones stayed put, signing a new contract and being rewarded for the remarkable performances he had put in.
On this day in 2010, another big team tried their luck. It was said that around this time thirteen years ago that Rafa Benitez and Liverpool were endeavouring to make Jones a ‘Red’. According to various newspaper reports at this time, Benitez was trying to bring in a striker to assist their faltering attack due to the injury to talisman Fernando Torres.
Liverpool are ready to test Sunderland’s resolve by tabling a £12m bid for striker Kenwyne Jones after their attempt to set up a loan deal was rebuffed over the weekend.
Black Cats officials turned down Liverpool’s offer of a short-term deal for the Trinidad & Tobago international, with manager Steve Bruce insisting that he would not allow any of his senior players to leave on loan this month.
However, Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez is ready to make a new £12m offer in an attempt to kick-start his side’s faltering season and bolster a strike force that has been deprived of Fernando Torres’ services for up to six weeks.
However, Sunderland turned down an offer of £15m from Tottenham last January, and while Jones’ form this season has been patchy, it remains to be seen whether £12m will be deemed a high enough fee for one of the most highly-rated players on the Black Cats’ books.
The article goes on to suggest that Niall Quinn had stated on Sky TV that the striker was not going to leave and Sunderland would rebuff any offers for their key man.
In more recent times, Jones has revealed that he turned down the chance to leave the club for Liverpool due to his ambition to be part of the Sunderland project and the opportunity to settle at one club.
Me staying at the club was down to me wanting to settle a little bit and to become a part of something that was building.
Sunderland always has the potential to be a massive, massive club and for whatever reasons - or for a combination of reasons - things don’t seem to have worked out as they should have.
But the fanbase, the facilities and the stadium are all second to none. It’s magnificent, really. I love the place, so that was my main reason for staying.