ALFRED N’Diaye admits the wait to make his “dream” Premier League debut has been a long one after being well aware of Martin O’Neill’s summer scouting trip.
New signing N’Diaye was handed a brief Sunderland bow in the closing stages of Saturday’s impressive 3-0 win over West Ham after completing his £3.8m move from Turkish outfit Bursaspor last week.
Sunderland boss O’Neill first watched N’Diaye during a Europa League qualifier in August, but Bursaspor were unwilling to part with the France Under-21 midfielder during the summer.
But with Sunderland maintaining their interest and reaching an agreement in the following transfer window, the 22-year-old has now fulfilled his aspirations of testing himself in the Premier League.
N’Diaye told SportMail: “I found out about Sunderland’s interest at the end of August.
“But my club Bursaspor didn’t want to sell me.
“Sunderland watched me for five months in Turkey, and I’m glad that eventually it’s happened.
“It’s been a dream of mine to play in England.
“My premier objective has to been to play in the Premier League.
“When it became possible to come here, I immediately wanted it to happen quickly.”
There is no hint of sourness over N’Diaye’s stay in Turkey though.
The Parisian believes he improved during his 18-month stint with Bursaspor, and added goals to his game after breaking through the ranks at French outfit Nancy.
“I think I’ve made a lot of progress since I moved to Turkey,” he said.
“Before I went there, I played 61 times for Nancy and never scored.
“But I’ve made progress to my game, and learned how to make a more important contribution to the team. And it’s been seen because I scored three goals in 37 appearances while I was there.
“Now I hope to score more goals here.”
N’Diaye almost found the net with his first touch in a Sunderland shirt after curling a shot just wide from Connor Wickham’s lay-off, just seconds after being coming off the bench.
But it was an encouraging start from the midfielder, and although he is ineligible for tomorrow’s FA Cup third round replay against Bolton, he hopes to play a part in Saturday’s trip to fourth bottom Wigan.
N’Diaye added: “I can’t play on Tuesday, but hopefully I can play more next weekend. That’s up to the manager though!
“I nearly scored, it was a shame, but maybe next time.
“It was a good start for me, we played a good match. We’ve got to be very happy with a 3-0 scoreline, and we could even have scored a few more.
“We never let West Ham play. Everyone worked hard and played their part and it was a great to run out 3-0 winners.”