Gary Rowell: Sunderland messed up by not signing Yann M’Vila – Didier Ndong is NOT twice the player

Yann M'Vila was great for Sunderland last season
Yann M'Vila was great for Sunderland last season
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The transfer window is in full swing now but I still can’t help feeling disappointed about the one that got away - Yann M’Vila.

The Frenchman was a key figure in last season’s relegation battle, setting a high standard from his earliest games that he rarely dropped below.

If all this sounds a bit depressing, it pretty much was although I thought Jason Denayer was easily Sunderland’s top performer

GARY ROWELL

He also clearly embraced the club and seemed happy on Wearside and at the end of last season I thought it would be a formality we’d sign him permanently.

However, it did not happen and I wasn’t shocked he said in December that he would not be returning to the Stadium of Light.

Who can blame him after flying into Heathrow in the summer and almost begging the club to sign him?

The sticking point was the £8million Rubin Kazan wanted for him which is a lot for a player with only six months left on his contract but significantly lower than the £13.6 million we were happy to pay for Didier Ndong on the same day M’Vila was kicking his heels in London.

It is no criticism of Ndong, he’s a player who has something about him I like and will get better, but he’s not twice the player Yann is.

It would not surprise me if M’Vila does not turn out to like Marcos Alonso, another loan player who excelled at Sunderland that we short-sightedly refused to sign permanently and he ended up at a top club for a fee far in excess of a figure the Black Cats could have had him for.