While we managed to pick up the likes of Yohan Cabaye (£4.3m), Cheick Tiote (£3.5m) and Ben Arfa (£5m), we further managed to sign up Sissoko and Gouffran for cut prices in the last six months of their contracts.
However, it now seems as though Sunderland are trying to replicate this policy. In the past week, they have picked up four free transfers, with Valentin Roberge, Cabral and Modibo Diakite as well as a former Newcastle target, El-Hadji Ba joining their ranks.
Now, I know this is a very contentious article topic, but it’s certainly possible that Sunderland could be trying to emulate the policy of Newcastle, in hope of perhaps forging some sort of success, like that of the 2011-12 season.
Martin O’Neil said this of Newcastle at the beginning of last season:
“It was a great season for Newcastle (2011-12). It might have been unexpected in some quarters, but they signed some very good players and it worked out brilliantly for them.
“It was a really great season. And, of course, that’s something that we want to emulate as quickly as we possibly can.”
Former Sunderland Chief Scout, Pop Robson, has also highlighted this change of transfer approach.
“I fear it might happen that Sunderland will concentrate solely on the overseas market,”
“They might go for cheaper options, younger players, European players, Croatians, Italians – but they still have to be good enough to play in the Premier League, which is pretty demanding,”
Furthermore, being a naturally optimistic Newcastle United fan, I can’t help but scour through the endless transfer rumours regarding the club; a bad habit, I guess. And though 90% of the rumours never actually materialize, it’s still exciting to see the club linked with a big player.
And yet, I swear with every player linked to Newcastle, Sunderland are apparently also ‘in the mix’. Or is this just me?
Anyway, let’s hope that these cheap pick-ups aren’t as successful as Newcastle’s bargain buys, at least not in the form they showed in 2011!
By Marcus Thompson