THE man that Sunderland fans voted their signing of last season is no longer even at the club!
Danny Rose arrived on Wearside unheralded and largely unrated last summer, on a season-long loan from Spurs.
But by the end of the campaign, supporters concluded that Martin O’Neill had done no shrewder bit of business in the whole year than nabbing the England Under-21 left-back.
After a quiet start in a Sunderland shirt, Rose’s pace, agility, athleticism and willingness to get forward began to excite fans.
In the first half of the season in particular, with Sunderland in the doldrums, it was no exaggeration to say that the left-back was often the Black Cats’ most attacking player.
The man most might have expected to win the best signing of last season was Sunderland’s leading goalscorer, £12million man Steven Fletcher, whose purchase from Wolves came at the end of a summer-long transfer saga.
Fletcher was the only Sunderland player to get into double figures and he had a goal-laden start to his Black Cats’ career.
Had he not got injured in March while away on Scotland duty, he might have pipped Rose at the post with a handful more goals.
That was a point made by many fans who still feel the best is yet to come from Fletcher.
But at least he, unlike Rose, remains at the Stadium of Light and will hope to build on a decent debut season for Sunderland when the 2013-14 campaign comes around.
Beyond Rose and Fletcher, none of last summer’s signings polled more than a handful of votes – £10m England winger Adam Johnson barely figured at all while January signing Alfred N’Diaye emerged as the best of the rest.
Now Sunderland fans will wait this summer to see whether their club will be able to broker a return of Rose, who they would love to see in red and white again next season.
“We must sign more players like Danny Rose if we are to move up the league next season,” said Billy Laidler of South Shields.
“Please, Paolo, go all out to keep the lad,” said Linda Cochrane of Dundee.