SUNDERLAND have ensured they have recouped their outlay on Asamoah Gyan after the Ghanaian completed a permanent switch to the Middle East.
Gyan’s drawn-out move to Al-Ain reached a conclusion yesterday after the striker agreed a four-year deal with the United Arab Emirates outfit, who initially took him from Wearside on a season-long loan deal last September.
The Black Cats have not disclosed the fee in the deal, but it is thought to be around the £6million mark – a figure that was specified in the original loan agreement and is in addition to the £6m Sunderland banked from allowing the 26-year-old to leave on loan.
That is less than the club record £13m price tag Sunderland agreed to pay French outfit Rennes in the summer of 2010. But that sum was dependant on a number of add-ons, which were never triggered because of Gyan’s early exit.
Sunderland have not made a loss on the deal and will be relieved that they have finalised an agreement to remove Gyan from the wage bill.
Likewise, Al-Ain are equally pleased to have landed their man after Gyan had been in demand from elsewhere in the Middle East, along with Turkish outfit Galatasaray.
Gyan notched 25 times last season to help Al-Ain lift the league title and the oil-rich club are thought to have handed him a contract worth an estimated £140,000 a week – double the salary he was paid when he first arrived on loan.
A statement from Al-Ain said: “Al Ain Sports and Cultural Club can announce that Ghanaian striker, Asamoah Gyan has moved to Al Ain.
“Gyan moved to Al Ain last year on a loan contract and he showed excellent harmony with the players on and off the pitch.
“His high level of performance urged Al Ain head coach Cosmin Olaroiu to ask the club’s management to secure the player on a permanent contract.”
There was never any question of Gyan returning to Sunderland this summer after he left the Black Cats in the lurch by orchestrating a move away from the Stadium of Light following the end of last August’s transfer window.
Boss Martin O’Neill made no attempt at a reconciliation with Gyan after succeeding Steve Bruce in December and happily gave the go-ahead for Sunderland to cut their ties with the player.
“Sunderland AFC can confirm that Ghana international Asamoah Gyan has joined United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain on a permanent deal,” said a Black Cats statement.
“The striker initially joined the recently-crowned Pro League champions on loan in September 2011 but will now remain in the Gulf state after the clubs agreed undisclosed terms.”
Gyan, who notched 11 goals in 37 appearances for Sunderland, becomes the latest out-of-favour player to be removed from the wage bill, following the departures of Cristian Riveros and George McCartney.
Marcos Angleri is expected to be the next, with the Argentine tweeting yesterday that he was “resolving his future”, amid talks over a proposed switch to former club Estudiantes.
But supporters will hope the funds from Gyan’s move will boost O’Neill’s hand in the transfer market with defender Carlos Cuellar the only new arrival so far this summer.
Gyan’s departure, coupled with the end of Nicklas Bendtner’s loan spell from Arsenal, leaves Sunderland light in attack and O’Neill has made no secret of his desire to add to his strike options.
But Sunderland are not close to making another breakthrough, ahead of the players’ return to pre-season training on Wednesday.