Asamoah Gyan has claimed that Sunderland pushed him to leave the club after just a single season at the Stadium of Light, because of the money they were offered for him.
The Ghanaian international joined the Black Cats from French side Rennes for a reported club-record £13million in the summer of 2010, following a string of eye-catching performances for his country as they reached the quarter-finals of that year’s World Cup.
Gyan would enjoy an impressive debut season at the Stadium of Light, top-scoring for the club with 11 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions as Sunderland finished a respectable tenth in the Premier League.
However, in September 2011, it was announced that Gyan had left the club to join Al Ain in the UAE on loan, in a deal which the striker himself appears surprised that Sunderland agreed to, even suggesting the club forced him into making that move.
Speaking to GTV Sport Plus about how his departure from the Stadium of Light came about, Gyan was quoted by Goal.com as saying: “When a player is performing definitely clubs will come chasing and the deal from UAE looked very good.
“I was going for one season for six million pounds and they [Sunderland] were interested because it was good money, they were even pushing for the move because the money involved was good for a loan deal.
Indeed, it seems there was initially some hesitancy about completing the loan deal in Gyan’s part, as he continued: “Personally I was concerned about the fans, about how they will feel and whether they will be happy if I move because I was the top man there, Darren Bent had left so I was their lead man and they liked me.
“But they [Sunderland] told they knew how to deal with the fans and that I should accept the move to UAE.”
Following that season on-loan with Al Ain, Gyan would go on to make that move permanent in the summer of 2012, which was seemingly an easier decision for the striker to make, as he added: “I went there and the atmosphere was great and I felt in love with the team and the fans. They treated me well so I decided to stay after my loan deal.”
Gyan would spend a further three years with Al Ain, and in total made 123 appearances and scored 123 goals for the club, before leaving in the summer of 2015.
This does seem rather surprising.
While the amount offered to Sunderland for that initial loan move was a decent fee, you have to wonder whether they needed to accept it, given Gyan had already proven that season that he was capable of making a decent impact in the Premier League.
Indeed, when you consider the fact that Sunderland have been on a downward trend in terms of league position ever since Gyan’s departure, it could certainly be argued that agreeing to that deal ultimately did not benefit the club, and you wonder whether they would take a different approach if given the opportunity again.