Gus Poyet tells targets: Come to Sunderland for the football, not the weather!

Coach Gustavo Poyet says that while Sunderland cannot match London's lifestyle, its passion for football is "unique"

Alex Livesey/Getty Images Gus Poyet, head coach of Sunderland AFC
Gus Poyet, head coach of Sunderland AFC

Gustavo Poyet has been telling his transfer targets that if off-field matters are their main priority, they should go elsewhere, but if it is passion they are looking for, the North East is the place to be.

The Black Cats missed out on target Eduardo Vargas this week when he opted to join Queens Park Rangers instead.

Having spent his entire Premier League playing career in London, Poyet was in no position to criticise, but revealed the sales pitch he has used on the Chilean and others including long-standing target Fabio Borini.

When asked if Sunderland’s location in the country or their position in recent Premier League tables were the biggest obstacles to signing players, Poyet responded: “It’s a combination of plenty of things, but those two can influence a player. If a player, especially a foreigner, has the choice of a club in London or here in the North East in a similar situation then he will pick London.

“Then there is the financial side and the way they want to live their life or play football or what the manager tells them. I will always tell the truth. Some people want to hear the truth and some people don’t.

“If they come here they will know exactly where they stand, ask (Costel) Pantillimon. I tell them it is very windy here!

“In some ways I would love to be in Malaga or Marbella but this place is unique. Every single person you meet in Sunderland knows about the team.

“In London, it’s a different way of living, a different passion.

“I love London – I won’t say the opposite – and with better weather it would be the best city in the world to live in. But I also want to play football, to have the fullest career, a way of playing, a relationship with people, training, the way everything comes together.

“It’s not just about afternoons and going to the restaurants and the cinema. If I want to live my life away from football, I’d maybe pick Sardinia or Spain or the south of France, but in terms of football here you have everything. A massive training ground, a good atmosphere, magnificent support – that is what you should want.”

The snub from Vargas means Poyet is persevering with his pursuit of Borini and he admitted he would prefer the Italian to Danny Welbeck, whose opportunities at tomorrow’s opponents Manchester United seem set to be scarce again.

“My situation with Fabio is clear,” Poyet said. “I know Welbeck has been here before (on loan), but when you know the player, me in particular, you can have a player who may look a little bit better, but I will always bring the one I know. I wouldn’t have any doubts or complaints. I know Fabio and he would always be my first choice.”

Louis van Gaal refused to answer questions about Welbeck’s future yesterday and although he made noises about leaving at the end of last season, the forward is thought to be reluctant to cut ties with his boyhood club. If he did, it would most likely be to join a club where he was guaranteed games at centre-forward, whereas Poyet would be more likely to use him on the left of a front three.

Borini remains the priority signing there, but despite agreeing a £14m fee with Liverpool for him a month ago, Sunderland are still waiting for an answer from the player.

“I’ve asked myself many times (when do we give up?),” Poyet admitted. “But I don’t know.

“It’s a daily thing. There will be a few calls but we’ll have to see. We haven’t put a date (on it).”

Santiago Vergini and Billy Jones are expected to be available to face the Red Devils tomorrow. Jones missed Saturday’s draw at West Bromwich Albion, but complications in Vergini’s loan meant he was not registered in time to feature.


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