People might have fond recollections of the recently departed Jeremain Lens; although I am unable to provide any names.
He’s a gifted player. A pity then that no amount of talent is any match for the attitude.
Notice was first served in December 2015. Five months after his arrival from Dynamo Kiev, he was not being selected.
A professional should have made noises about doubling his efforts in training and all that. Instead, Jeremain just set his bottom lip a-wobbling.
He huffed: “I am not playing and I did not come to the Premier League to sit on the bench. Something will have to change. What, we will see though. A transfer in the winter? That could happen.”
Boo and furthermore hoo. Last summer his lack of interest saw him shunted out for a season’s loan to Fenerbahçe.
In January this year, with Sunderland looking increasingly like relegation certainties, Lens was quoted in the Turkish media as saying “many things (for him) will be easier if Sunderland drop down”.
Perhaps his comment was made to look worse in translation. Then again, perhaps it wasn’t.
In short he did little to justify his salary or transfer fee. Those who enjoy blaming the club for absolutely everything are keen to say that, once again, SAFC have failed to draw the best from a skilful player.
This wrongly absolves Lens from blame. He is a highly-paid professional and – remember this – an adult. His failure. His responsibility. His attitude. His fault.
With regards to Lens, I have also heard the phrase “asset stripping” being lobbed at Ellis Short. Oh please ...
An asset is defined as: “Thing or person that is valuable or useful.” Make your own jokes.
Asset stripping is buying a company for nibbles then selling it piece-by-piece to make a profit. It definitely does not entail paying umpteen millions for one of its components then selling it two years later at a knock-down price.
What Sunderland paid for Lens’ “services” is now of academic interest. That money has gone and it was a matter of what this “asset” could be flogged on for.
Anything for sale is only worth what someone is prepared to pay. As I personally wouldn’t part with a bag of midget gems to sign Lens, I feel that whatever Beşiktaş have just coughed up for him is more than he is worth.
What better offers were on the table?
Sunderland a selling club? Of course they are. Debts are £110m; a large chunk of it to Short himself. He isn’t selling players and “trousering the money”.
Furthermore, that debt is only to July 31 last year. A fair bit more has been spent since then. The £10m that Ricky Álvarez and Margaret Byrne have cost the club between them recently doesn’t help.
And it is naive to imagine that the debt can be simply erased by last season’s prize money and the sale of Jordan Pickford and others.
That would also involve, among other things, not paying anyone. I have spoken to our legal department and am assured that this is not allowed.
The sale of and removal from the wage bill of Jeremain Lens helps. Good news and good riddance.