Didier Ndong 22 Midfielder Sunderland Gabon
Didier Ndong should be an all-action midfielder. He’ll win the ball back as high up the pitch as he can and then set counter attacks on their way. He does the defensive side very well with the odd romp forward every so often to pitch in with a screamer or two. That’s what he can be, and that’s the sort of midfielder we can all get behind.
He should have been a perfect acquisition for a Premier League club in the bottom half, in need of a midfield shield. It should have been a match made in heaven at the Stadium of Light. Unfortunately everything was far too rushed and we’re worried neither side really knew what they were getting into.
2016 has been…
If a year could be summed up in six seconds – find the build-up to Liverpool’s 90th minute penalty on Saturday against Sunderland. I say build up. Sadio Mané was running in a relatively straight line from wide right on the halfway line and aiming to get into the box. From about five yards outside the box you can see that Didier Ndong is going to foul him. Nailed on.
It had all seemed to be going so well. Didier had played consistently well for Lorient over the course of 18 months and looked very accomplished in Ligue 1. He was a regular for the French club throughout 2015/16 and he rightly received many plaudits for his performances.
Then the panic move to Sunderland happened. In the face of rejection for other targets, the Black Cats splashed a club record fee on a player that was their fourth choice. They had cash burning a hole in their pocket and they grabbed whatever they could off the rails.
For Ndong, we assume he saw it as a deserved move to a better league with better wages; but it’s just been terrible. It doesn’t help that Sunderland have generally poor this season except those three solid performances to start the season (none of which Didier was part of). Other than conceding the penalty on Saturday, the only noticeable impact Ndong has had on the Premier League has been ending Phillippe Coutinho’s 2016 through injury.
Yann M’Vila arrives at Sunderland in January. We’re lead to believe that Ndong’s transfer was instigated because a deal to get M’Vila five months early couldn’t be sorted out. As such Yann’s arrival could spell trouble for him. He has a few weeks to get his act together if he wants to keep Sunderland in the Premier League this season.
If not, he can look forward to a future of regularly popping up in a countdown of the “Premier League’s biggest flops” during almost every international break. Although he’ll be able to do that while playing in Russia or China or maybe even back in France. This is probably just a blip and a few clubs will give him the benefit of the doubt should they be in the market for a player like him this summer.
D On the plus side, he’ll be one of the few Sunderland players that won’t have to endure the Championship
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