STEVE Bruce has held clear-the-air talks with record signing Asamoah Gyan and hopes to see the Ghana international back to his best in the weeks to come.
Gyan, along with fellow injury victim John O’Shea, was not expected to feature in this afternoon’s game against Chelsea, but the Sunderland manager hopes the forward will be back with a bang when he returns to the side soon.
“I had a sit down with Asamoah this week and we had a proper talk about his situation,” Bruce told the Echo.
“He hasn’t been his normal self this season. He’s been poor, if I’m honest and in my opinion, it’s all the talk about potential transfers that’s done it.
“I don’t think his head has really been right since the England game at Wembley, when he scored and was the centre of attention.
“I think he had his head turned when he read in the next few weeks about lottery-winning moves to this club or that club. I saw Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Valencia mentioned and it was all rubbish.
“And then the other week we had to put with all talks of Turkish clubs coming in for him because their window closes a week after everyone else’s.
“It was all absolute rubbish and I don’t think some of the people who surround him have done him any favours.
“It has got to be unsettling for the young lad and it can’t be helped by hangers-on filling his head with nonsense.”
Bruce hopes he and the striker can draw a line under that episode, though, now that the transfer window is closed.
Gyan is a Sunderland player for the rest of 2011 and his manager wants him to focus on the fact that he has to give his all to the Black Cats now.
“I told him I wanted to see the old Asamoah Gyan again, and I think I will,” said Bruce.
“I thought it was best to have a heart-to-heart with him and try to work things through.
“He lit up the Stadium of Light in the first few weeks after he arrived last year and I want to see that player back in a Sunderland shirt again.
“He’s had a lot of distractions over the last few months and we haven’t seen that old Asamoah smile off the pitch, or enough of the Asamoah flair on the pitch.
“But I want that to change now and I think so does he.
“He’s completely free to concentrate on his football now and we’ll be helping him do that.
“The thing that will put a smile on his and on all our faces is for him to be scoring goals again and enjoying himself on the pitch.
“That’s what we’re concentrating on as coaching staff and once he’s back from this minor knock I’m hoping the papers will still be full of Asamoah, but this time for displays on the pitch, rather than transfer talk off it.”