After Leicester City won the Premier League every team wanted their very own N’Golo Kante.
The Frenchman had stunned top flight fans with his performances as the Foxes won a shock title. Sunderland decided to try and bring in a Kante for themselves. The player in question was Didier N’Dong.
Like Kante, he was schooled in French football and the Gabon midfielder played a very similar style of football to that of Kante. Sunderland paid a fee in the region of £13.8 million to sign the player, making him the club’s record signing.
At the time, Sunderland manager David Moyes even stated to The Chronicle:
“We like the look of him, he has good energy, he is young, he will improve with time.
“I think he has a personality to his play.
“I’m not saying he is another N’Golo Kante, but there is a bit of that in his makeup.”
However, two years on and it is clear that Ndong is not the second coming of Kante.
He struggled to find good form in his first season at the Stadium of Light and was again not up to scratch after Sunderland dropped to the Championship. After an unsuccessful stint on loan at Watford the Black Cats, now relegated to League One, are to let him go.
The 23-year-old is set to join Torino in a deal worth around £6.6 million, as reported by The Chronicle. A deal, according to the report, is still in the early stages as they try to agree on personal terms.
Sunderland are therefore set to make a £7.2 million loss on the player, who simply never lived up to the Kante reputation.
New Everton deal great for the future and gets one over on Steven Gerrard
The midfielder has committed his future to Everton until 2020.
This summer saw Rangers appoint Steven Gerrard as manager. The former Liverpool man was swiftly linked with plenty of young talent from Merseyside and not just those he worked with as academy coach at Melwood.
However, those deals must have got back underway. Yesterday, the 18-year-old signed a new deal at Everton.
Denny signed his first professional deal with Everton this week. Whilst keeping him out of the clutches of Liverpool legend Gerrard is a win in itself, Everton fans will be far more excited about what he can bring to the club in the future.
The England youth international is the latest in a long line of promising talent to emerge at Everton.
With the likes of Jonjoe Kenny, Beni Baningime and Tom Davies in first-team action last term, Denny can easily begin to hope he can follow in such footsteps.
Denny is now contracted at Everton until 2020 and in the next two years will hope to show he is capable of being a star at Goodison Park.
Sorry Stevie G but for now, this one’s a Toffee.
Liverpool should stay away from Domagoj Vida despite World Cup heroics
Liverpool are reportedly weighing up a move for the Croatian international.
Liverpool have reportedly joined the race to sign Croatian World Cup star Domagoj Vida, with the Reds looking to bolster their squad depth in a bid to bring Jurgen Klopp his first piece of silverware with the club.
According to the Express, Liverpool have already made a bid for Vida, who is partnering current Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren for Croatia at this summer’s World Cup.
Vida currently plays his football in Turkey with Besiktas, after making a move from Ukrainian giants Dynamo Kyiv back in January but, at 29, is the Croatian international the man to solve Liverpool’s defensive frailties?
Despite impressing at the World Cup, there is no doubt that Liverpool should be aiming higher in a bid to find their £75million centre-back Virgil van Dijk a worthy partner.
It could even be argued that Van Dijk and Lovren did enough to prove to Klopp at the end of last season that they had a solid enough partnership to carry the club forward next season. Howwever, it seems the Liverpool boss still identifies the centre-back position as an area of improvement for the Reds.
Unfortunately, Vida is not in the top bracket of centre-backs that Liverpool so desperately need to partner Van Dijk at the heart of their defence, and making a move for the Besiktas man would be a disappointment to many.
With Klopp on the verge of potential greatness with the Reds, it would be a silly time to invest in any player who is not quite up to scratch.
Did one year ago today mark the start of Ronald Koeman’s Everton demise?
Everton focussed on one man for too long and never replaced Romelu Lukaku.
This time last year saw Everton busy in the transfer market. Sandro Ramirez arrived from Malaga on the same day the club also procured Michael Keane from Burnley. But it was also the day that reports first started emerging that Everton had targeted the man to replace Romelu Lukaku.
According to The Mirror, the Toffees were lining up a £20 million bid for the Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud. The Frenchman was seeing his future at Arsenal cast into doubt by the signing of Alexandre Lacazette and Everton hoped to lure him to Goodison Park.
It was a deal that rumbled on throughout the summer but, in the end, Giroud chose to remain at Arsenal.
It was, according to Ronald Koeman, the decision that eventually cost him his job at Everton. As he told Voetbal International, as relayed by The Telegraph, they had Giroud ‘in the building’ but he decided he did not want to leave London.
Everton’s inability to replace Lukaku left them desperately short in attack. It proved a massive contributing factor to Everton’s woeful start to the season which saw Koeman dismissed in October.
Giroud, of course, went on to join Chelsea in January.
Everton’s demise from last season, as far as Koeman is concerned, can be pinpointed too hedging their bets on Giroud 12 months ago.
This summer the club must be more fluid in the transfer market.