Friday, September 29, 2023

Can This Chelsea Star’s Arrival Strengthen The Sunderland Defence for Next Season?

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Arka Tarun Mukherjee
Arsenal fan and football expert, Arka Tarun Mukherjee actually used to play cricket at semi pro level. An ardent student of football tactics, ATM is very passionate about the tactical aspects of the game and has a dream of being a football manager in the future.

Sunderland Manager David Moyes has secured his first transfer of the window and it is Papy Djilobodji from Chelsea for a fee of £8m. Sunderland are in need of reinforcements all across the pitch and Moyes has also made it clear that if the opportunity arises then he would not hesitate to strengthen his squad in every position but bolstering the defence and the attack are priorities.

Djilobodji is a center back who can also play as a defensive midfielder.  The player signed for Chelsea in the winter window of 2015 as he signed a four-year contract for a reported fee of £2.7 m rising to £4 m but made only a single appearance for The Blues, as a late substitute in the Capital One Cup against Walsall. On January 2016, the defender was handed a much-needed chance of playing first team football by Werder Bremen, who took him to Germany on loan. Djilobodji, featured heavily for the rest of the season for the Die Werderaner featuring 14 times in the Bundesliga and twice in the DFB Pokal.

The 6ft 4 in defender’s impressive performances for Bremen were more than enough for Moyes to spend almost three times his initial transfer fee paid by Chelsea and the manager believes that the Senegal international can form a good partnership with Lamine Kone at the back for the Black Cats. The 27-year old has shown that he can be a solid performer at the back with French Ligue 1 side Nantes.

After signing for them in 2010, Djilobodji became a regular in the team in the second season and helped his team win promotion in the third year (2012/13). Since Nantes returned to the French top flight, the recent Sunderland acquisition, had two wonderful seasons where he became the most dependable player giving brilliant performances against stronger sides and helped Nantes survive in Ligue 1.

Before signing for Chelsea in 2015, Sunderland were actually one of the teams interested for his signature along with Aston Villa but they didn’t make a bid for his signature at that time. After not getting his chances at Chelsea it looked like things are not going according to plan for the 27-year-old but his stint in the Bundesliga has proved that he can do the job when given the chance and The Stadium Of Light is in many ways the best place for him to be.

Under David Moyes, Djilobodji can play regularly pairing up with another quality defender in Kone. A lot of game time would be available for the defender, as he would be hoping to replicate the consistency; he has shown for Nantes previously and recently with Werder Bremen, next season as David Moyes would be counting on him to tighten things around at the back for Sunderland.

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