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Sunderland fans react on Twitter to Ola Toivonen performance

The Swede had a terrible loan spell at the club in 2015-16.

Mathew Nash

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Sweden nearly caused a huge upset in the World Cup last night. After being 1-0 up against reigning champions Germany they looked set to be earning a draw after Marco Reus equalised. But Toni Kroos’ excellently converted free-kick saved the Germans.

However, the main talking point from the game among Sunderland fans on Twitter was the scorer of Sweden’s goal. Ola Toivonen was the man who got the ball rolling for the Swedes.

He latched onto a pass from Viktor Claesson, controlling expertly with his chest, before lifting a sumptuous lob over Manuel Neuer.

It was a goal of extraordinary talent and ability from the attacking midfielder. Both of those traits were rarely on show during Toivonen’s time at the Stadium of Light.

Signed by his former PSV Eindhoven manager Dick Advocaat on loan from Rennes in 2015 he struggled for any form on Wearside. Often playing in a deeper role than the one he occupied v Germany, Sunderland rarely saw any quality from the Swede.

(Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images)

In 14 games for Sunderland, Toivonen managed the one goal. His performances were forgettable and fans were left extremely disappointed by his displays in red-and-white.

As reported by the Shields Gazette at the time his performances were so bad Sunderland wanted to cancel his loan, but parent club Rennes refused to have him back.

He was barely seen after Advocaat got the sack and Sam Allardyce arrived. But many Sunderland fans would place him among the worst to play for the club in recent memory. Considering their back-to-back relegation status, that is no mean feat.

But it seems, when playing for Sweden and in his best position, you get an entirely different version of the Sunderland flop…

Sports journalist based in Bristol. Previously spent five years writing for HITC Sport. Everton fan for my sins.

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Sunderland

Benjamin Kimpioka could be Sunderland’s secret weapon this season

The Swedish winger looks set for a season in the Sunderland first-team mix.

Mathew Nash

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After two relegations in a row, Sunderland are looking to bounce back next season in League One. They have a new manager, a new owner and plenty of new faces among the first-team squad. One of the new names in the first-team picture is Benjamin Kimpioka.

The exciting winger scored a great goal against Hartlepool in a recent friendly and excited fans with his brilliant and extravagant performance.

He is not a new signing, but an academy graduate who joined Sunderland in the spring of 2016. Following a successful trial and subsequent visits, the summer previous Sunderland snapped up Kimpioka on his first scholarship deal in April 2016 from the academy at IK Sirius.


“I look forward to going over and settling in Sunderland to focus and do what I’m passionate about, to play football.

“No matter how it goes, I’m grateful and see this as an experience for life,”

– Benjamin Kimpioka after signing for Sunderland 

 


Capable of playing through the middle but more comfortable as a winger he had a fine season for Sunderland’s under-18s last season – scoring 10 and assisting three goals in 12 appearances.

 

That sort of form has seen him moved into the first-team for pre-season and he seemingly appears to have no plans of heading back down.

(Photo by Richard Sellers/Getty Images)

For Sunderland, it would be perfect if the 18-year-old was now ready to run with the first-team. It would add another dimension in Sunderland’s currently mediocre attacking options and give fans a breath of fresh air.

An under the radar signing from April 2016, when Sunderland started their demise down the football ladder, could end up being the surprise package in their redemption.

That would be quite the tale.

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Sunderland

Sunderland must not rely on Josh Maja up front next season

Sunderland are currently lacking in striking options.

Mathew Nash

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It has been a tough week at Sunderland. The Black Cats have lost two of their top young attacking talents. Swedish forward Joel Asoro looks set for Swansea City after the two teams agreed on a fee. They also lost 16-year-old Sam Greenwood. He has agreed to join Arsenal’s youth system. It leaves Sunderland in a massive predicament in the attacking department.

Sunderland have hardly any strikers left on board, after the loan of Ashley Fletcher ended the Black Cats are very short up front. With James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban departing last season they are now stuck with just one striking option. The player in question is 19-year-old Josh Maja.

(Photo by Jack Thomas/Getty Images)

The Londoner played 18 times for Sunderland last season, scoring just one goal. But he is a top talent for the future and Sunderland must ensure they keep hold of him and use him in League One.


“They (Maja and Bali Mumba) will stay. They want to be Sunderland players.”

– Sunderland chairman Stewart Donald on Maja’s future


However, Sunderland cannot rely on him. The Black Cats are still hunting for new recruits and at least two new frontmen are going to be needed in order for Sunderland to fight for promotion.

Maja is a brilliant talent, but putting the pressure on him to lead the line would be a big mistake from Sunderland this season.

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Sunderland

Returning Duncan Watmore will be like new signing for Sunderland

Sunderland will welcome the winger back to action in the Autumn.

Mathew Nash

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Sunderland manager Jack Ross has been updating the press on the injury status of attacker Duncan Watmore.

The 24-year-old suffered a second serious knee injury last November and has not played for the Black Cats since.

Speaking to the Sunderland Echo, the Scotsman confirmed that Watmore, who took part in Sunderland’s pre-season training camp in Portugal, should be back with the first-team by ‘late September, maybe October’.

Which will no doubt be like a new signing for the Wearside club.

When the powerful and energetic Watmore burst onto the scene at Sunderland in 2015-16 he was one of the shining lights in what was an otherwise disappointing campaign from the Black Cats. His direct and vibrant style of play was exactly what Sunderland needed as they survived relegation to the Championship by just two points from local rivals Newcastle United.

(Photo credit should read LINDSEY PARNABY/AFP/Getty Images)

Since then things have just not gone to plan for the attacker.

But he is a player that fans have a lot of time for and, in League One, he has all the attributes to be a star.

His strength and pace will be a major concern for most defenders in the division and Sunderland will no doubt enjoy having him back running the channels and stretching defences.

The former England under-21 international needs some good luck. If he can stay fit this season then Sunderland’s chances of a return to the second-tier will increase almost immediately.

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