Thanks, but no thanks.
Just because he was a cracking player for us seven years ago, it doesn’t mean he’d be a cracking player for us now. He’s thirty three years old and hasn’t had a club since the end of last season, so is that a signing that would point to progress?
I’ve no idea if M’Vila is capable of playing at a decent level anymore, but the fact he’s not signed for anyone since leaving Greece indicates there’s a reason for that, whether it be wages, fitness, or something else.
Either way, I’m not sold on the idea of signing him just because he’s done an interview and said he’d like to come back here.
We’ve got a little bit of cash to play with after selling Ross Stewart and I’d much rather those resources were used to sign a striker and a central midfielder that we can get more than half a season out of.
Yann’s a cult hero of mine but I don’t think signing him would be a step in the right direction.
Andrew Smithson says…
From a purely romantic point of view, I’d say a massive ‘yes’.
I loved M’Vila when he was here last time and I honestly thought he was one of the best midfielders we’ve had in the Premier League.
Thankfully though, our current system isn’t susceptible to mere sentimentality, and the hierarchy will look at this more objectively than I would.
It’s great that he seems keen to come here and that’s half the battle with a lot of potential signings, but the club has to be certain that M’Vila is able to contribute in the here and now.
The stats seem to suggest that he was able to perform to a good standard last season but it seems that since then he’s been out of action. If he’s been keeping himself in shape, great, but you can’t compensate for a lack of match action and it might take a while for him to get up to speed.
On the other hand, what he would bring to the club straightaway is experience and in the case of certain players, an ability to be a sounding board and mentor. These things are hard to quantify but are vital given the average age of our players.
I can fully understand why some supporters may be hesitant, and after the Jermain Defoe situation I doubt the club will be rushing into anything rash.
My personal view is that the current ‘model’ is the right way to go in the main but could maybe afford a larger element of flexibility in terms of older faces as long as they offer something, and this is an example of that - somebody who doesn’t bring a direct resale value but can benefit the team in other ways.
Bringing M’Vila in would probably prove to be a bit of a boost to supporter morale, and has the potential to bring several other positives.
January will be murder for transfer links and whispers, but this is one potential deal that’s exciting if nothing else, and if all the boxes are ticked I’d be chuffed to see him back in red and white.
Ewan Bowman says…
For me, it’s a no brainer. The player clearly loves the club and feels he can contribute, so I would definitely pursue it.
Central midfield is an area that needs looking at in the January transfer window and whilst M’Vila might not be the same player as the 2015/2016 season, his attributes are exactly what this team needs.
I’ve been banging the drum for a while that the lack of experience in the squad is an issue and especially when things get tough in games. He would bring experience, calmness and the younger players will look up to him.
Get him signed, Sunderland. It’s a no brainer.
Malc Dugdale says…
This is a bit of a see-saw query for me, with a few good reasons to pursue it, but a few reasons to skip it too.
On the negative side, he’s thirty four next June, so he’s miles away from the youthful strategy we have.
He also won’t be properly match fit for some time, as his contract with Olympiacos ended in September.
Before becoming a free agent, he played ninety five games in three years, scoring five goals, so his fitness record doesn’t seem too bad. He wouldn’t hit the ground at full pace though.
On the plus side, he knows the club and the fans adored him when he played for us on loan, and as a very experienced CDM, he’s certainly something we’re missing.
He’s the type of player we lack due to the long-term injury to Corry Evans, and he’ll be pretty cheap given his age and his contractual status. However, the love with the fans can be a double edged sword, as we experienced with the return of Jermain Defoe not too long ago.
Personally, I’d support it if he was on a reasonable wage and he doesn’t push any of our young lads back down the order in terms of their learning.
That said, the poor ‘one last dance’ Defoe experience suggests to me that we should keep past memories- as good as they are- and find someone else who can give us options to support Dan Neil and Pierre Ekwah.