GUS Poyet has begun his clear-out at Sunderland with Andrea Dossena having already left the club, Ki Sung-Yueng allowed to head off to South Korea before the season’s end and discussions currently being held with players whose contracts are up.
Former Liverpool full-back Dossena joined the Black Cats on a free transfer last summer after previous club Fiorentina allowed the 32-year-old to look for a new club.
The defender was involved in 11 of Sunderland’s games this season, seven of them in the league, picking up two yellow cards and one red – the sending-off coming when he stamped on Hull’s David Meyler at the KC Stadium in November.
Dossena had had to wait until October 27 for his debut – when he started in the 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the Stadium of Light – but his opportunities dried up after the signing of fellow left-back Marcos Alonso on loan in January.
He made only one more league appearance after Alonso’s arrival – in the 2-1 defeat at Liverpool on March 26 – after the Spaniard had been sent off in Sunderland’s previous game, against Norwich City.
With Alonso the clear first choice at left-back and Ondrej Celustka, Phil Bardsley and even Jack Colback all pushing Dossena in the pecking order, Poyet decided the Italian was surplus to requirements.
And an amicable agreement was reached between the player and the club over the defender’s early departure.
Poyet said: “There was less of a clear role for Andrea to play after the arrival of Marcos and we thought it was in the best interests of everyone, including the player himself, not to keep him at the club if he had little chance of involvement.”
Ki was kept on for longer.
After medical experts confirmed the seriousness of the on-loan Swansea midfielder’s tendonitis, the South Korean international was keen to return home but Poyet kept at the Academy of Light a little while longer.
“I understood what he wanted but I was worried about what message that would send out to the rest of the group at a time when we were still battling to be safe.
“I felt I couldn’t let anyone important go until we were over the line.”
Sunderland’s stunning victory at Man United at the weekend which pushed the club to within a whisker of safety was enough for Poyet to feel he could allow Ki to leave with his best wishes.
Next Poyet will progress arrangements with pre-season tours and friendlies which had been left in limbo when the club’s fate was uncertain.
But he says he wants to resolve contract issues quickly.
“I think it is only right that you try to deal with the out-of-contract players as quickly as you can,” he said.
“Some will have ideas about what might or might not happen but it important to be clear about things as soon as we can so that things can move forward.”