CRISTIAN RIVEROS represents Sunderland’s first successful attempt at reducing the burden on their wage bill.
The midfielder finally agreed a season-long loan with Kayserispor yesterday – almost three weeks after beginning talks over the move with the Turkish club’s manager, former Rangers striker Shota Arveladze.
Steve Bruce has been pro-active in ending Riveros’s spell on Wearside after deciding to cut his losses on the 28-year-old.
And the challenge for the Sunderland boss now will be to make further inroads in offloading the remaining players deemed surplus to requirements at the Stadium of Light.
There is interest in Riveros’s fellow South American Marcos Angeleri from his native Argentina and Bruce is eager to end the right-back’s unhappy spell on Wearside after the 28-year-old failed to start a Premier League game in his first year with the Black Cats.
Meanwhile, Bruce is also keen to offload Matt Kilgallon, George McCartney and Nyron Nosworthy.
Nosworthy and Kilgallon have one and two years respectively remaining on their contracts and Sunderland will again look to send the duo out on loan if they cannot sell them on permanent deals.
McCartney – who spent much of last season on loan at Leeds – provides the big headache for Bruce with the former Northern Ireland international left-back boasting two more years on a lucrative contract handed him by former Black Cats boss Roy Keane.
If Bruce can move some of the quartet on to pastures new, then it would hand a major boost to his transfer and wage budget.
Riveros represents a step in the right direction though, with the freed wages expected to go towards a move for free agent David Vaughan.
“Cristian wants to play regular football and hopefully he will be able to do so in Turkey. We wish him all the best,” said Bruce.
Bruce had hoped that Riveros would provide creativity and a goal threat from the middle of the park when he landed the Paraguay international on a free transfer from Mexican outfit Cruz Azul last summer.
But after catching the eye for his country in the World Cup, Riveros was unable to replicate that form for Sunderland.
Riveros struggled to cope with the physicality or pace of the Premier League and was limited to just five starts in the top flight.
Admittedly, Riveros was never given an opportunity for a sustained run in the side and broke his Black Cats duck with the third goal in the closing stages of Sunderland’s final day 3-0 win at West Ham.
But Riveros never showed a spark to suggest he would prove to be a success in the Premier League and failed to justify the lucrative wage packet agreed from a Bosman deal.
There is no clause in the loan deal to convert it into a permanent move.
But the loan will at least cover the wages from one of the two years remaining on Riveros’s contract on Wearside.