A 1-0 loss at Stadium of Light against Bournemouth sealed the fate for David Moyes and his men as Sunderland were relegated from the first division with four games still remaining. The Black Cats were booed off the stadium after the final whistle as a pathetic season under manager Moyes unfolded. Sunderland were relegated after 10 seasons in the Premier League, which perhaps made it even more painful and infuriating at the same time.
Previous Sunderland managers – Steve Bruce, Paulo Di Canio, Gus Poyet, Dick Advocaat and Sam Allardyce – have saved the club from relegation but the blame of the team’s downfall will eventually fall on Moyes. Though the former Manchester United manager signed a four-year deal with Sunderland, he is all set to leave the Wearside club as they look to start the life in the championship.
Whoever will be the manager, Sunderland face a tough battle to keep their better players as is always the case with relegated teams. In such times, the club hierarchy must do all in their might to try and keep some of the stars at the club and help them achieve instant promotion.
On that note, let’s take a look at the three players from the current squad that Sunderland must keep hold off for the next season. The duo of Jordan Pickford and Jermaine Defoe are not included in this list as they are destined to leave for greener pastures in the summer.
#1 Didier N’Dong
The 22-year old has been one of the few sparks for Sunderland who has flourished in midfield. N’Dong has been magnificent in some games and disappointing in others but the talent is there for everyone to see.
He is still young and will improve with more experience under his belt. The defensive midfielder is a crucial position and Sunderland will need him in the championship where he can imprint his qualities and dominate the teams of the lower division.
The Gabonese, who was signed for £15 million from Lorient last summer, must be given a new contract to ward off interest from potential suitors.
#2 Fabio Borini
With Jermaine Defoe keen to stay in the Premier League, Sunderland will need a talisman up front who can score 20+ goals in the season. Borini can be that guy as he has proved to be an integral part of the team.
Be it as the striker or as the winger, Borini has always given his all and is a fan favourite. Though only seven goals this season, a year in the championship might just be the thing that can unlock Borini’s potential.
The Italian also has an experience of playing in the second division with Swansea City on loan and he scored six goals in nine games.
#3 Duncan Watmore
With his pace and work rate, this youngster has proved to be one of the brightest local products to come out of Sunderland. Watmore was in good touch when he suffered a knee injury and is still out.
He has missed the second part of the Premier League but is expected to be fit for the start of the next campaign. Clubs are expected to queue up for his signature as the Black Cats must hold on to the lifelong Sunderland fan to commit his future with them and help him build his reputation in one of the most gruelling competitions in the world.