Sunderland are in their fourth consecutive season of League One football as they have failed to make their way back to the Championship on three occasions.
They are currently fourth in the table and hoping that it will be fourth time lucky following their relegation to the third tier in 2018.
The Black Cats have had a number of players come and leave in that time, with a few success stories and others that did not go as well.
One player the club has had a big howler with, in hindsight, is central defender Alim Ozturk, who has impressed since leaving the Stadium of Light.
He joined the club in 2018 upon their relegation from the Championship and was propped up as a player with room to improve. Former Black Cats boss Jack Ross said this upon the defender’s arrival:
“He is someone who I know – I worked with him a few years ago at Hearts. He is a player who is yet to reach his full potential, but this opportunity here gives him the chance to do that.
“He is a really good player and he will be able to cope with the physical demands of this league. He is really comfortable on the ball and I think the supporters will see that. He is excited by the opportunity to come here and he wants to do well so that fits perfectly in to what we are trying to do here moving forward.”
Ozturk made 45 appearances in his two years on Wearside, playing 22 times in League One in the 2019/20 campaign. Former Sunderland striker Stephen Elliott dubbed him as “important” in 2019 as he ended that season with an average SofaScore rating of 6.84 – winning 59% of his duels throughout the year.
The club, with then-manager Phil Parkinson at the helm, opted to part ways with him in the summer of 2020 as they allowed him to join Umraniyespor on a free transfer. Transfermarkt valued him at £180k at the time of the move and he has since gone on to shine for the Turkish outfit.
He has averaged an excellent SofaScore rating of 7.04 this term for Umraniyespor, helping them to keep nine clean sheets in 22 games. This comes after he averaged a score of 6.96 last season, showing that he has improved year on year.
At the time of writing (15/02/22), Transfermarkt value him at £428k. This is a whopping 138% increase in the space of two years and shows that his value has soared since he left Wearside.
Therefore, Sunderland had a howler with his exit as he has been able to kick on and fulfil that aforementioned potential and the Black Cats could have benefited from that had they kept him in 2020.