Sam Jones: Questions over the contribution of Sunderland’s ex-director of football Roberto De Fanti

editorial image
Have your say

FORMER Sunderland director of football Roberto De Fanti recently described his contributions at SAFC as “immense”.

With two more of De Fanti’s signings, Mavrias and Cabral, departing the club recently, leaving only Mannone and Giaccherini, De Fanti’s description of his own work is interesting to say the least.

De Fanti’s only transfer window in charge saw 14 players come in, with the list made up of free signings, loans and players with little or no Premier League experience.

The process of demolishing the De Fanti legacy has taken time, yet credit must go to the likes of Gus Poyet and Lee Congerton, for managing to shift underperforming players from the wage bill.

For all Poyet’s comments and tactical selections have come under scrutiny lately, he has played his part in stabilising the club financially.

It would be unfair to label all of De Fanti’s recruits as failures, though the majority did little more than drain wages from a tight budget.

Lee Congerton’s approach to the transfer market has been much more pragmatic and deserves positive recognition.

Not everyone was thrilled with SAFC’s January business, yet I would argue that it is up there with Sunderland’s best transfer windows in recent years.

Jozy Altidore was finally moved on, most remarkably for a tried and tested Premier League goalscorer, Jermain Defoe, while Mavrias and Cabral also departed.

The list of encouraging transfer business is not limited to Defoe. Patrick van Aanholt, Costel Pantilimon and Anthony Reveillere were all acquired for just short of two million pounds, you’d have to say that’s remarkable work from Congerton.

The major flop attributed to Congerton so far is obviously £10m Jack Rodwell, though most fans, including myself, remain hopeful that he will eventually deliver.

Ultimately, De Fanti’s summer work in 2013 could have crippled the club, especially if the players hadn’t produced the most miraculous of miracles to save us at the back end of last season.

De Fanti does have legitimate grievance when he mentions that the number of players Sunderland needed in 2013 is overlooked, though you’d have to say, bar a few notable exceptions – Borini, Ki, Mannone and Giaccherini – the players he recruited were not good enough.

• This article was sent into the Echo by a reader for our new Black Cats eight-page supplement, titled The Roar! - which will be in the paper every Wednesday.

To get involved, send your articles by email to or find us on Facebook and on Twitter. We’ll put them online and the best ones will be published in the paper.