Another exciting young signing, another step on the journey that Sunderland AFC is currently embarking on, and a player who can hopefully add some real value as we aim for the playoffs during the second half of the 2022/2023 season.
With one week left in the window, we’ve secured a target, made our first big move and injected some depth into a key area of the squad in the process.
On the face of it, Pierre Ekwah seems to tick a lot of boxes for us and the response from West Ham United fans at his departure seems to hint at another genuine talent heading north from the East End, following that of Aji Alese last summer.
There’s no doubt that Alese is already looking like a bargain, and if Ekwah follows a similar path, we’ll have a lot to thank the Hammers for in two or three years’ time.
Once again, we’ve nabbed a highly-rated youngster from a Premier League setup, and after years of bargain-bin shopping and quick-fix solutions, it really does highlight the progress that’s been made. We’re now seen as a club where players’ careers can take off rather than go into a state of terminal decline, and I can’t express how much of a relief that is.
In terms of what he’s going to bring, it would seem that Ekwah is the kind of powerful, agile, dynamic midfielder that we’ve all been crying out for.
Upon his unveiling as a Sunderland player, he described himself as a ‘number eight who carries the ball’, and at twenty one, he fits the profile of our squad perfectly.
Strength through the middle is something that we’ve often lacked in recent years, and if the young Frenchman can provide requisite protection and a ball-winning threat for the likes of Dan Neil and Edouard Michut, we ought to be in even better shape than we are now.
Long-term, Ekwah could be a replacement for Corry Evans, and this shows that we’re conducting our business very smartly.
All clubs with aspirations of future success have the ability to think ahead, to plan for departures and to ensure that they’re not left floundering when key players eventually move on.
Prior to the current model being implemented, we simply hadn’t done that often enough, which in turn had a hugely damaging effect on our status and future prospects. However, with a genuine strategy and framework now in place, the changes are starting to have a huge impact.
There’s no doubt that Evans, as captain and a leader, is still a vital presence both on and off the field, but there’s no harm in ensuring that he has a capable understudy on hand, someone who add depth and quality whilst learning and developing their game at the same time.
We’re building something of a French foreign legion at the Stadium of Light right now, and it seems that Kyril Louis-Dreyfus’ connections to that country’s domestic game are paying dividends. Other clubs have done this for years; zeroing in on foreign leagues and unearthing gems, and now it seems that we’ve finally taken the plunge ourselves.
Never in my time supporting this club have we placed so much faith in young players. It might be commonplace in the wider football world, but for us? This is new, bold, and refreshing, and with the potential to yield some exciting results in the years to come.
Welcome to Sunderland, Pierre. Get stuck in, play your game, and make the most of the opportunity!