The Black Cats showed their determination to succeed at very the top of English football by making two excellent midfield signings with Inter Milan midfielder Sulley Muntari joining on loan until the summer, and Benin playmaker Stephane Sessegnon arriving from PSG for a reported fee of € 7M, as reported on Soccernet.com. Muntari was a regular for Milan in their amazing treble season under The Special One last year, and will join Ghanain compatriots John Mensah and Asamoah Gyan at the Stadium of Light. The fans will be delighted that such acknowledged international talent has been attracted to the Stadium of Light, and I believe that our league position and the stability at the club have contributed to the increasing credibility of Sunderland as a force to compete at the very top of English football. Ambition is one thing, but having the wherewithal to execute a strategic plan and have the resources to propel the club into European competition is something else.
Manager Steve Bruce, who has a very solid record in the transfer market, said: Sulley is a fabulous acquisition for the club. When the opportunity arises to bring in a player of his ability - even in the short term you have to take it, and I'm delighted that we have been able to. His adaptability is a great asset. He did extremely well at Portsmouth so he knows the Barclays Premier League well and you have to be some player to move to Inter Milan for the fee that he did. He's a great addition.
Muntari said: I love the pace, and passion the fans have across the nation. The English game makes me relaxed and happy so I can bring my skills out. I will just try to do my best to help Sunderland go further because they are doing well. I hope I can help the club go to Europe.
Speaking of Sessegnon, the manager said Stephane can play on the left, on the right, through the middle - he's lightning quick and he's a match-winner. I think he'll be a big hit with the supporters. I predict he'll turn into a crowd favourite. Stephane's a little powerhouse with some great dribbling skills and a good shot. His ability to slot in across attacking positions makes him a great addition to what is a young and hungry squad.
The player added: I am very happy and glad to be here. The transfer has been long and the execution has been tough, but I am very happy. I can't wait to start in the Premier League. It has been my dream for years. The Premier League is the best league to play in; I have always wanted to play here. It is a great pleasure to be here and my wish is to give the maximum to Sunderland. I want to thank Niall, Steve and Eric for all the support they have shown to me. This transfer has been difficult but they were always here helping me. Sunderland was the place I wanted to be even though there were other teams interested.
With these two excellent new international midfielders on board, and an already sound defence soon to be boosted by the return of Michael Turner, the only question is whether Sunderland can sign a striker who will enhance the team before the transfer window slams shut tomorrow night. Campbell and Welbeck will return in due course, but do we need an experienced frontman who can work along with Gyan, and pass on his knowledge to the younger players? Bruce will surely act if he sees the need, but look for some of our other midfielders to leave on loan or permanent transfers.
©Lars J.S. Knutsen
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