A war of words has broken out at Sunderland this week, with Jack Colback one of the key areas of disagreement.
Newcastle’s neighbours employed Roberto De Fanti as director of Football for a disastrous seven month period from June 2013 to January 2014, during which £30m was spent on players (including Jozy Altidore) and the wage bill significantly increased. A year after De Fanti’s departure and out of thirteen players he brought in, only Giaccherini and Mannone are still part of the first team squad.
Despite this, the former Director of Football has claimed that he was the victim of a strict cost cutting initiative including cutting the salary bill, which De Fanti blames for Jack Colback and Phil Bardsley running their contracts down and leaving for nothing.
Amusingly, it was on De Fanti’s recommendation that the mackems also took on Paolo Di Canio as manager.
De Fanti told the Guardian;
“My job was to reduce the salaries, to spend as little as possible, sell the two best players, Simon Mignolet and Stéphane Sessègnon.
Sunderland have dismissed this as nonsense seen as their wage bill went up and there was a net spend of over £12m. They also claim that they were desperate for Colback to sign a new contract, rather than being happy to offload him for nothing.
Interesting that little focus has been paid to the fact that Sunderland have a Director of Football who is tasked with overseeing player recruitment, though their process isn’t quite so bizarre as the one at Newcastle United. However, both clubs are suffering from their respective arrangements in different ways.
Sunderland recruited Lee Congerton to replace De Fanti and his role leaves Gus Poyet free to concentrate on getting the mackems relegated, sorry, concentrate on coaching. However, crucially Poyet still has the biggest/final say on which players come and go.
Whereas at Newcastle you had/have an impossible position where players are simply handed to the manager/head coach, leading to ridiculous scenarios such as Alan Pardew refusing to give Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa a proper run in the team in his proper position, as he didn’t want him or rated him.