Monday 20 August 2018

David Moyes' Sunderland career gets off to shaky start with plane drama

New Sunderland manager David Moyes on the pitch at the end of the match. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters
New Sunderland manager David Moyes on the pitch at the end of the match. Photo: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Luke Edwards

David Moyes’ has already had to deal with his first drama as Sunderland manager after the plane taking the team to Europe for a pre-season tour was forced to make a sudden landing in Manchester.

Sunderland were flying to Geneva in Switzerland, with Eastern Airways, before playing three friendly game in France when the plane suffered a technical fault and was forced to land for mechanical checks.

Although the landing came as a shock to those onboard, there was no panic and the squad eventually boarded another flight to the continent after a couple of hours.

Moyes had only met the players for the first time on Sunday morning, just hours before taking off from Newcastle airport. With little time to get to know the squad, the former Everton and Manchester United boss knows the time in France is crucial as he tries to draw up a list of potential transfer targets.

The Telegraph reports that Moyes intends to hold individual meetings with his players over the course of the next week and already has an idea of where he needs to strengthen, with a striker and two full-backs the priority.

Moyes also wants to press ahead with the signing of midfielder Yann M’Vila from Ruben Kazan. The Frenchman spent last season on loan at the Stadium of Light, but the Black Cats have delayed making the deal a permanent one after it became clear former manager Sam Allardyce was wanted by England. Moyes, though, likes the 26-year-old and was tracking him when he was Everton manager.

The new manager also needs to decide whether to offer a contract to Charles N’Zogbia, who has impressed on trial, particularly in the friendly against Rotherham at the weekend, where he scored one goal and assisted in another.

However, there are reservations about the signing the 30-year-old as he lost his way badly at Aston Villa and there are question marks about his temperament.

Moyes has been out of management for eight months and has not worked in the Premier League since he was sacked by Manchester United in April 2014, but he still feels he has enough knowledge to bring in players to improve the squad.

Time is against him. Sunderland’s first Premier League game of the season, away at Manchester City, is less than three weeks away and having been promised a significant transfer kitty by owner Ellis Short, there are than six weeks left in this transfer window.

There is also an urgent need to settle on his backroom staff, with former Manchester United defender Gary Neville one of the name’s being linked to come in as his assistant. His number two at Everton and United, Steve Round, is another option, although he is working on other projects and might not be interested in a return to a coaching role at this stage.

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