- Wednesday, 11 January 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
English Premiership side Sunderland AFC have been assessing 19-year-old Gambian trialist Alieu Darbo as manager Martin O’Neill begins to firm up his plans for the January transfer window Gambia Sports Online can reliably reveal.
The Sunderland boss is keen to make some alterations this month [January], Nyron Nosworthy yesterday completed a permanent move to Championship side Watford, while youngster Ryan Noble is poised to leave Wearside on loan.
Given the limited time he has had to assess the squad he inherited from Steve Bruce at the start of last month, O’Neill is not expected to oversee wholesale changes before the transfer window closes on January 31.
He [O’Neill] is however keen to make a handful of additions to his squad and Gambian winger Alieu Darbo, who spent time at Sunderland’s Academy of Light training ground at the turn of the year isn’t an exception.
Darbo, who is a free agent following his release from his previous employers in France, Le Mans, is a Gambia Under-20 international and has also, represented Sweden at a number of age-group levels.
He was the subject of a transfer battle between two French clubs in Le Mans and Nice before he decided joining Le Mans in 2009. He was invited on trials by both clubs after he was spotted playing for the reserves at a local club in Sweden, Örgryte IS, which is located in Gothenburg but impressed both after only two days into his two weeks stay before he was offered a deal by Le Mans.
Alieu is valued at a transfer fee of only three million Euros [approx 2.5 million pounds] and for him, he believes “it's pretty cheap”.
He played in a practice match during his time on Wearside - first-teamers Craig Gardner and Fraizer Campbell were also involved - and having watched the game, O’Neill is understood to have been impressed with his impact.
However, he has subsequently left the North-East as he awaits news on his future. Darbo has also been on trial at another Premiership side Newcastle United, who opted not to take things further as they are not on the look-out for wingers, and League One side Scunthorpe United are also understood to be interested in the 19-year-old.
It remains to be seen whether Martin O’Neill will opt to make a move for the Gambian teenager, as the Sunderland boss last night sanctioned his first departure since taking over on Wearside but sources have it that he would naturally prefer to chance his arm with Sunderland, who are looking for reinforcements in both wide areas this month.
About Sunderland AFC
Sunderland Association Football Club is an English association football club based in Sunderland, Tyne and Wear who play in the Premier League. Since its formation in 1879, the club has won six First Division titles—in 1892, 1893, 1895, 1902, 1913, and 1936—and the FA Cup twice, in 1937 and 1973.
The Sunderland team won their first FA Cup in 1937 with a 3–1 victory over Preston North End, and remained in the top league for 68 successive seasons (spanning 80 years because of the war years’ interruption) until they were relegated for the first time in 1958. Sunderland’s most notable trophy after the Second World War was their second FA Cup in 1973, when the club secured a 1–0 victory over Leeds United.
The team has won the second tier title five times in that period and the third tier title once. Sunderland play their home games at the 48,707 capacity all-seater Stadium of Light having moved from Roker Park in 1997. The original ground capacity was 42,000 which was increased to 49,000 following redevelopment in 2000. Sunderland have a long-standing rivalry with their neighbouring club Newcastle United, with whom they have contested the Tyne–Wear derby since 1898.