SUNDERLAND will not be dragged into a war of words with Asamoah Gyan, despite the striker’s latest defence of his big-money loan move to Al-Ain.
In an interview with a Ghanaian radio station, the Black Cats’ record signing dismissed Sunderland manager Steve Bruce’s assertion that he had called him to straighten things out following his loan move to the United Arab Emirates – adding that he was “disappointed” with the manager’s comments in the aftermath of the transfer.
Gyan is in the early weeks of his move to the Gulf and has said that he hopes to return to the Stadium of Light next season, although the chances of that happening appear slim.
And commenting on the situation in England will hardly help his cause – especially as Bruce is eager to draw a line under the situation.
While the pair have not had a conversation they have exchanged cordial text messages which constituted something of a truce in the eyes of the Wearsiders chief.
Gyan confirmed he has “no problem” with the manager, but said he had been wounded by Bruce speculating that he had moved solely for financial gain.
“I have heard some comments he (Steve Bruce) has made and am very disappointed,” he said.
“There is no problem between us, although we are yet to speak since I moved. I believe the move was good for the club. That is why they allowed me to go.”
Bruce has bigger issues to address after the disappointing defeat at Norwich on Monday and yesterday’s news that key defender Titus Bramble had been arrested.
The club issued a short statement, but the Sunderland boss will need to decide whether to consider the defender for action on Saturday.
He has alternatives with Michael Turner available following his injury, although the former Hull City man was struggling for form even before he suffered a setback in his recovery from a knee problem.
Another possible solution would be to switch John O’Shea into a more central role – or even hand a first Premier League start to the promising, but unproven, Louis Laing. Either way, Bruce must conjure some sort of revival after a Carrow Road reverse that left even his advocates struggling to find positives.
His position is not understood to be under threat, but there is a growing recognition that his team need to start fulfilling their potential, especially with crowds on the wane on Wearside.
The Sunderland boss wants the Stadium of Light to become a difficult place for opponents to play again after the 4-0 defeat of Stoke. That arrested a run of eight defeats in nine home games and a win against West Brom would be vital.
“We’ve had a strange time of things,” the Black Cats boss said. “Our home form used to be our strength and we barely lost in a year, but we couldn’t get a win away from home.
“Then we turned it around to the point where our away record was good but our home form fell away.
“I think the bottom line for any Premier League side is that if you want to do well then you have to take care of your home form.
“We didn’t make the best of starts to the season in that direction, but we got an excellent win against Stoke City and if we can build on that – and there’s no reason why we can’t – then we can start turning things around.
“The Stoke result was a start. It was a good win. An important win.
“However, we need to look to get back-to-back victories and start making the Stadium of Light a place that teams don’t like coming to again.”