Sunderland transfer window review: January signings proving big assets in relegation fight

An in-depth look at the signings made by Sunderland in the January transfer window and their impact on the side so far.

Sunderland transfer window review: January signings proving big assets in relegation fight
Image source: Irish Mirror

It has been a busy January for Sam Allardyce and Sunderland AFC. There have been a number of chops and changes at the Stadium of Light over the past month, as the Black Cats fight for Premier League survival.  

A number of names have left Wearside with Ricky Alvarez and Costel Pantilimon moving on permanently, while Sebastian Coates, Jordi Gomez, Will Buckley, Steven Fletcher, Lyden Gooch and Danny Graham leaving on loan.  

Despite the departures, the club have been busy bringing people in - with a total of five players joining the North-East outfit. The quintet have been trusted to help keep Sunderland out of the relegation zone by Allardyce.

But just how successful has been Sunderland’s transfer window been? Here is look at the five arrivals and what they can bring to the Black Cats.  

Lamine Kone  

After weeks and weeks of chasing him, Sunderland finally managed to capture central defender Lamine Kone from French side Lorient. So far, he looks to have been worth the wait.  

Kone's move to the North-East was one of the more peculiar transfer fiascoes of the last window, with the move called on and off numerous times. Lorient even threatened legal action at one point.  

However, the loan departure of Coates to Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon gave the move a chance once more more and it was finally completed for a £5m fee.  

Concerns were raised when he almost put the ball into his own net just four minutes into his debut in the defeat to Manchester City.  

Despite the early bump in the road, Kone has proven a solid asset since then and seems to be forming a good partnership with veteran John O'shea which could keep Younes Kaboul out of the side.

Kone further helped his credentials last Saturday when he put in another solid display alongside O'Shea, and it was his thumping header that was bundled over the line by David de Gea to give them the 2-1 win over Manchester United.

Kone looks like that he is slowly becoming a main stay in the defence and, with the frailty of Sunderland's backline so far this season, Allardyce may be looking to wrap his Ivorian asset in bubble wrap.  

Jan Kirchhoff  

Allardyce was looking to bolster his defensive options during the window and his first move of the window was to bring Jan Kirchhoff in from Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich

It wasn’t a fairytale at Munich, making just seven appearances with a two-year spell at Schalke sandwiched in between, but Allardyce saw something in him as he nabbed the 25-year-old for a bargain £750,000.  

However, his introduction in to the Black Cats couldn’t have gone any worse. His 37 minutes in the defeat to Tottenham was like something out of a horror movie, when his deflection took Christian Eriksen's shot into the net and brought down Danny Rose for the penalty.  

He has certainly come on leaps and bounds since that torrid day at White Hart Lane as he put in impressive display in a role just in front of the defence in the defeat to Manuel Pellegrini's side, which prompted Allardyce to give him the role on a permanent basis.

However, he was handed a big blow in Saturday's match when he was brought off after just 15 minutes with a hamstring problem. With just over a little over a week until Sunderland return to action, Allardyce will be praying his versatile German will be raring to go.  

Kone has been a revelation since arriving last month. | Image source: Premier League
Kone has been a revelation since arriving last month. | Image source: Premier League

Wahbi Khazri  

The most effective of the January transfers so far has been winger Wahbi Khazri. Many were skeptical when a relatively unknown winger was brought into the Stadium of Light from Bordeaux for a hefty £9M fee.  

The Tunisian has proved a revelation with his great trickery and pace but it seems that his greatest asset is his set piece ability.  

With absence of Sebastian Larsson and the dismissal of Adam Johnson, the Black Cats have been lacking an expert from the dead-ball situations and it seems they may have found the perfect replacement.  

The sheer pace and uncertainty of his set pieces seem to be the biggest danger, which was evident on a number of occasions in his debut match, with Joe Hart caught off guard more than once.  

Saturday's match is where he truly shone, opening the scoring three minutes in and setting up the winner just shows how much of vital asset he could be in the fight for survival.   

Dame N’Doye  

It is difficult to say that there hasn’t been an over-reliance on veteran striker Jermain Defoe so far this season, with Defoe scoring 10 of the club's 32 league goals.  

With the likes of Steven Fletcher and Graham not performing before been shipped off to Marseille and Blackburn Rovers respectively, Allardyce looked to address the problem in the form of Dame N'Doye.  

The striker impressed during Hull City's top-flight relegation season with five goals in just his 15 appearances for Steve Bruce's side, who recommended the striker to Allardyce this January.  

His impact has yet to be seen as of yet after his loan move from Trabzonspor, but going off his previous record he could be a deadly second option for Allardyce to have at his disposal.  

Steve Harper  

The final transfer is one of the more controversial moves that happened in the whole of January, due to the player's former commitment,  as former Newcastle United 'keeper Steve Harper crossed the great divide to join up with Allardyce.  

The veteran had been at Sunderland's bitter rivals for over 20 years before he was moved on to Hull City. But after been released by the club, he had no team until Allardyce  decided to bring him in until the end of the season.  

It was planned that Harper would provide cover for both Vito Mannone and Jordan Pickford after the departure of Pantilimon, though it's highly unlikely that Harper will be involved at any point before the end of the season.  

However, a man of Harper's experience could prove to be a good asset going into a relegation battle. The veteran stopper has been involved in a dog fight more than once and could be key in the development of golden boy Pickford, as he takes his first steps into top-flight football.