This feels weird.
I think that objectively, Michut’s a good player who did well for us last season, but I also concede he’s probably the wrong player for what we need in midfield for next season.
In games where we dominated the ball, he was able to showcase the best of his abilities, but during matches where we didn’t dominate, I felt he struggled.
He didn’t always mesh well with Dan Neil either, and given that Neil is an ever present, that’s obviously going to be an issue.
So many of the goals we conceded in games where Michut and Neil started together came because of their collective lack of defensive discipline off the ball, and we saw a huge improvement in that whenever the midfield was a combination of Neil and Pierre Ekwah or Neil and Corry Evans.
Ultimately, I think Sunderland should be going for a top two finish next season and in order for us to achieve that, we have to be capable of playing more than one way. That means players like Michut, who are very talented and undoubtedly offer us something, don’t really fit what we need going forward.
I suspect we’ll sign more players like Ekwah and Neil - technicians who can also get stuck in and don’t think working hard off the ball is necessarily beneath them.
Good luck to Edouard in the future, though. I think there’s a top player in the making there, but maybe he doesn’t suit our needs right now, and that’s okay.
Andrew Smithson says…
I really enjoyed watching Michut play for Sunderland and would gladly have him back, but I can also see the club may be looking elsewhere, particularly as the rumoured purchase price is relatively high.
Either way, I’d class the initial loan as a success.
He gave us some quality moments and it hopefully feels as if he’s benefited from being with us, but going forward it strengthens our reputation for giving prospects a chance and we’ll hopefully see more talent heading our way.
I know these deals can bring us back to square one the following season and I appreciate the worries about training lads up only to fail to get the eventual benefit, but Michut complimented what we had rather than stifled it and if such deals benefit all parties, it’s happy days.
Clubs and players can trust us to provide a good opportunity, and if deals are structured so that one or two eventually become permanent, it feels like a decent option. Michut has a good future ahead of him, and I’ll wish him well if that turns out to be elsewhere.
Dan Harrison says…
Having done some digging when the links were first made, I was delighted to see Sunderland being linked with such a talented and technical midfielder in a PSG setup that’s seen starlets such as Christopher Nkunku and Kingsley Coman emerge from their youth ranks, and there was nothing but hope.
However, skip forward to the end of the season and although I’m personally disappointed that we didn’t take up the offer to sign the young Parisian permanently, for the first time in a while, I can understand why.
He’s a wonderfully talented footballer and has demonstrated this through his ability to receive the ball on the half turn, beat presses and make progressive carries through the middle of the pitch.
Our problem, however, is less about Michut’s ability and desire but more about how we want to set up moving forward.
Dan Neil looks set to be a centrepiece in the side and therefore someone who offers a more defensive approach to the game needs to sit alongside him.
Pierre Ekwah and the recently linked Jobe Bellingham both provide extra height and defensive cover in the midfield and with the return of Corry Evans, I’m sure his opportunities would be limited next season.
All in all, I love Michut and everything he offers as a footballer. He’s extremely talented and will doubtless be snapped up to a side that suits his skill set slightly more than Sunderland.
He’ll be a future French international and maybe one of those ‘ones that got away,’ but for now, it seems to just be a case of the right player at the wrong time.
All the best for the future, Edouard. You’ll definitely be missed at Sunderland.
Malc Dugdale says…
I think the loan was a success.
He developed a lot and we benefited as well, especially when the opposition suited what Michut brought, so PSG are also getting a more rounded and experienced player.
However, I’ll say that this decision wouldn’t have made an iota of sense until about a month ago and the rise of Pierre Ekwah.
Ekwah is a lot of things that Michut is, and he’s also lot of things that he isn’t.
With Ekwah’s emergence, the game time that Michut would’ve got is very questionable and I think Ekwah’s success has been part of the reduction in perceived value of the Michut deal.
Also, with the allegedly imminent signing of Jobe Bellingham, players in the academy squad who are approaching the first team and other recruitment irons doubtless in the fire, I’m not sure how well the diminutive Frenchman would’ve fitted in, or how he would’ve competed for starts or bench appearances.
What this does prove is that we’re in such a good place in terms of recruitment and options.
While this leaves me worried about similar feelings in the past (such as the feeling that we had enough to manage without another striker, which in part turned out to be true) we’re now at the start of a summer period where we can build the team very steadily but very well.
We’re a team who overperformed last season, and we’ll nurture young talents as well as play them as part of our way forward. With all that being the case, the queue to join us may well be a long as the one for playoff semi final tickets the other week.
I certainly hope so.