So, when was the last time we signed a player of potential, at a good age, from a good club? And, even more spectacular, he’s a left-back! Not a moonlighting midfielder, an actual, proper left-back.
Sunderland’s signing of Dennis Cirkin this week is a statement of intent from the club. And that’s without seeing him play.
Of course, we have signed young players from big clubs before that have failed to make an impression here – remember Marc Lynch? – but seeing the reaction from Tottenham fans this week tells you that Cirkin was highly-regarded in North London.
The last signing Sunderland made of a player with potential resale value was Luke O’Nien, but of course he did not come from a big club, although Wycombe Wanderers fans were disappointed to see him go.
Before then, perhaps Paddy McNair? Any value from that deal was reduced massively when you consider Donald Love was part of the negotiations, like going to the MetroCentre with your mates and your mam making you bring your younger annoying brother.
In recent history, Sunderland very rarely make a profit on a player – Darren Bent, Patrick van Aanholt and Simon Mignolet stick out as exceptions. Jordan Henderson and Jordan Pickford moved for huge sums but they were academy products. It’s clear that for too long our transfer policy just hasn’t been good enough – all too often we have spent lots of money and had very little value out of that player and they either run down their contract or leave for a small fee.
So even without seeing Cirkin kick a ball in anger for Sunderland, this much-vaunted New Way Of Doing Things is a step in the right direction.
There has been obvious criticism of the club for not doing their business quickly enough, but if Cirkin is the result of this patience, then this signing will have allayed those fans’ fears to a certain extent.
More importantly, the signing of Cirkin and the loan signing of Callum Doyle from Manchester City is a show of faith that Sunderland is a good place to go for young, promising footballers, and that can only be a good thing in the long run.