LOAN PLAYERS WHO COULDN’T STAY AWAY



It’s fair to say that Dion Sanderson and Jordan Jones have caught the eye since joining on loan. In recent years some of the loan signings that have come to the Stadium of Light have been shocking, so to see loan transfers have a positive impact has been a welcome change. Usually, loan players have been that bad that there has been no chance of a permanent transfer, however Sanderson and Jones’s performances have had many fans wanting them to make Sunderland their permanent club.


Jones has caught the eye on the wing with some inch perfect crosses and it’s rumoured that Rangers are wanting £600,000 for the Teesside born winger. Sanderson who joined on loan from Wolves in October 2020 has also impressed with some exceptional performances at the heart of defence. Previous newspaper reports have suggested Sunderland are exploring the possibility of buying Sanderson from Wolves in the summer. However, Sanderson has said his preference would be to remain at Wolves, and to try and establish himself in the top-flight. But it still may be possible that if we get promoted Sanderson re-joins on loan for a season in the Championship.


Falling in love with a loan player is never a good idea as it only ends in heartbreak when they don’t sign permanently, just look at Yann M’Vila. After M’Vila I said I would never let a loan player make an impression of me, but Sanderson and Jones really have. This article will look at the some of the loan players who have returned to Sunderland for another loan spell or made Sunderland their permanent home.


PAUL STEWART

Stewart spent four months on loan at Roker Park between August and November 1995. In March 1996 he re-signed for the lads on a permanent basis and helped us win promotion to the Prem as Division One Champions. He scored four times in the 1996/97 season but was unable to help us stay up. After our relegation Stewart signed for Stoke.


JONNY EVANS

I was only 7 when Evans played at the SOL but I still could see then how talented he was. Roy Keane used his connections to sign Evans from Manchester United in January 2007. Evans fitted straight into the Sunderland team and his performances helped us clinch promotion back to the Premier League. Evans won the Young Player of the year at the end of the 2006/07 season and it was hoped he would sign permanently before our return to the Prem. Instead, Evans decided to stay at United and fight for his place but ended up back on loan at SAFC in January 2008. He once again slotted straight in the Sunderland team and helped the lads avoid relegation. Evans is one of the best defenders we’ve had in recent years and it’s a shame he never signed permanently.


JOHN MENSAH

Possibly the unluckiest and injury plagued on this list. Mensah joined on a season long loan in 2009. However, a persistent calf injury meant he never got a proper run in the first team and was injured every few weeks. When he did play he looked quality and became a favourite amongst fans. He was so popular the phrase ‘left, right and John Mensah’ was coined. In his first season he made 17 appearances, scoring once. The Ghanaian re-signed on another season long loan in 2010 but like his first season, he spent most of it on the side lines. He made also 17 appearances in his second loan spell but Steve Bruce did not sign him permanently due to his injury problems. On his day Mensah was one of the best defenders we’ve ever had, however his injury problems meant he never had a decent run in the side and never made a proper impact.

FABIO BORINI

Borini signed from Liverpool on a season long loan deal in September 2013. In October 2013, he came off the bench to score the winner in the Tyne-Wear derby as we won 2-1. The goal was a catalyst for a successful season at the Stadium of Light. In December he scored an equaliser in the League Cup Quarter Final against Chelsea. He scored a penalty in the 2-1 League Cup semi-final home leg victory against Man United. Borini also scored at St James Park in the 3-0 victory over Newcastle. He smashed a spot kick past the ‘penalty expert’ Tim Krul before jumping onto the advertising hoardings to celebrate. Borini scored his most famous Sunderland goal in the 2014 League Cup Final at Wembley. He gave Sunderland the lead that day with a fantastic strike after a long ball over the top which had beaten Vincent Kompany. In April Borini scored the winner against Chelsea to inflict Jose Mourinho’s first ever home league defeat as manager of the club. The result helped Sunderland stay in the Premier League. Borini finished the season with 10 goals in all competitions and won the clubs Young Player of the Year award. After having a bid accepted for Borini in the summer of 2014, the Italian decided against the move, instead wanting to fight for his place in the Liverpool team. However, he would eventually re-join the lads permanently in the summer of 2015. His second spell at the club was not as successful as the first, he only managed seven goals in two seasons. The highlight being an equaliser in the 3-2 home victory against Chelsea in May 2016. The result which was followed by a home victory to Everton guaranteed our Premier League survival.


SEBASTIAN COATES

In September 2014 Coates joined on a season long loan deal, linking up with fellow Uruguayan Gus Poyet. Coates was not really used by Poyet, however he had to fill in at left back against Newcastle in December 2014 after Anthony Reveillere was injured in the warm up, Coates helped us keep a clean sheet as we won 1-0. He was rewarded with a start the week after against Hull, but a 3-1 defeat led to Coates falling out of favour with Poyet and he didn’t make another appearance under him. However, when Dick Advocaat took over Coates regained first team football and played every minute in our five-game unbeaten run that saved us from the drop. Coates re-joined the lads permanently in July 2015 for a fee of £2 million and spent another season on Wearside but with little game time as he was not in manager Sam Allardyce’s plans. Coates joined Sporting Lisbon in the summer of 2016.

BAILEY WRIGHT

Wright signed on loan from Bristol City in January 2020 for the remainder of the 2019/20 season. He made his debut at Tranmere in a 1-0 win and instantly made an impact at the back. He impressed with his aerial ability and calmness on the ball and his introduction was a catalyst for an upturn in form, we won four out of the next five keeping four clean sheets. However, an injury against Oxford and later the coronavirus pandemic cut short a promising start to his Sunderland career. His absence saw a slump in form with only one win in the next five before the season was halted in March 2020. A win at home to Bristol Rovers was followed by a draw at home to Fleetwood, a defeat at Coventry, another home draw with Gillingham and a defeat at Bristol Rovers. That slump in form would eventually see us finish eight on PPG and miss out on the play offs. Wright was released by Bristol City at the end of his contract in July 2020 but returned to the Stadium of Light signing a permanent deal in August 2020. Wright has since been reunited with his former manager Lee Johnson, after Phil Parkinson’s sacking, Wright was Johnson’s captain at Bristol City. Wright has been instrumental at the back this season; he may lack a bit of pace but his ability to read the game is second to none. However, since the start of 2021 injuries have seen Wright on the side lines once again. He went off against Ipswich on a golf buggy stretcher before returning and then getting injured again against Lincoln in the Papa John’s Trophy semi-final. Wright went off at half time with a small tear to a part of his calf. However, it’s expected that he’ll be back in the next few weeks, just in time for the end of the season.


HONOURABLE MENTIONS


AHMED ELMOHAMADY

Ahmed Elmohamady joined from ENPPI on a season-long loan move in 2010 with an option of a permanent deal for £2 million the following summer. In March 2011, during Elmohamady’s loan spell Sunderland announced they had taken up the option of a £2 million transfer. After another season on Wearside, Elmohamady moved to Hull on a season-long loan deal in 2012, reuniting with former Sunderland boss Steve Bruce.


SANTIAGO VERGINI

In January 2014, Vergini moved on loan to Sunderland for the rest of the 2013/14 season. After helping Gus Poyet’s side to safety, Vergini re-signed for Sunderland on a season-long loan for the 14/15 season with the deal becoming permanent if we avoided relegation. As we avoided relegation the deal for Vergini became a permanent one. However, Gus Poyet had been sacked in March 2015, and when the obligation to sign Vergini permanently went through he wasn’t in new boss Dick Advocaat’s plans, subsequently Vergini was loaned to Getafe in July 2015.


MAX POWER

Max Power signed for Sunderland in August 2018 however because the deadline passed before a permanent deal could be done, Power signed on loan until January 2019, where an agreed fee to sign him on a permanent basis was confirmed.