What Sunderland now do with Kenwyne Jones?

kenwyn-jonesIt’s nothing new for Kenwyne Jones to be linked with a move away from Sunderland, it’s happened since he joined the club although the clubs he was linked with previously were the likes of Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham whilst now it’s Birmingham and Stoke bidding for him. Either way, a £9 – 11 million move is said to be on the cards but I think Steve Bruce is making a mistake in potentially selling him as Jones has a lot to offer Sunderland.

Jones has impressed for the Black Cats ever since he joined in 2007 and the only reason he’s being linked away now is because he’s out of favour with Bruce as Darren Bent is first choice striker and he’s getting annoyed about having to wait for a chance in the team. Bruce should keep in mind that Kenwyne has 5 goals from 10 games so far this season – not too shabby, particularly for a man who’s coming off the bench for a few of those appearances. Jones and Bent have rarely been played alongside each other – an incident between the two regarding a penalty reportedly upset Bruce but it shouldn’t keep him from playing his best two forwards together. Instead Bruce has opted to use just Bent up front or partner him with Fraizer Campbell who is nothing but pace and lacks finishing finesse.

Bent is proving a great all-rounder for Sunderland but Jones is something that plenty of clubs in the league don’t have – a massive aerial threat whose physical presence causes havoc in the opposition penalty area. He’s not even the tallest player around at 6’2” but he knows how to throw his weight around and it has got him consistent praise. Even Chelsea captain John Terry praised him in the past, saying

“Jones was fantastic and I have played against him twice now. He is a very good player, very hard working and probably the best in the air in the entire Premier League, he really is that good.”

Strong praise indeed from the Chelsea captain. He’s also been described by George Burley as being very similar to Didier Drogba due to their similar physical attributes. Jones can do a job for Sunderland, he’s shown it before and he should be given more of a chance than Bruce seems willing to give him, how Campbell can have preference over him in the team I don’t know.

As for the suggested replacement should he leave, Kevin Kuranyi; he’s also a big, powerful player who possesses an impressive goalscoring record in the Bundesliga but would he adapt to the Premiership? And would he even be allowed to play alongside Bent who is undisputed starter? Yes, there would be financial gain by selling Jones and buying Kuranyi but Jones has settled into Sunderland already and is loved by the fans and it seems to make sense to have him available instead of bringing in Kuranyi and hoping he adapts quickly.

There’s no question that Bent should start, his goalscoring this season has been phenomenal – although unexpected – but Bruce’s lack of faith in Jones is perplexing given how well he did prior to Bruce’s arrival. It’s a simple case of a manager preferring his own signings as that’s the only way Campbell could get in ahead of Jones. Claims that Jones and Bent are too similar are rubbish, Bent isn’t half the aerial presence Jones is whilst Bent is smarter on his feet although both have a good turn of pace.

So as to whether Sunderland should sell Jones, no, I don’t think they should. This is a man who’s still just 25 and has the peak of his career yet to come and if given a chance he can score goals, he’s already got a few this year afterall. He possesses both strength and pace which are great attributes to have for a top flight footballer and still has a role to play at the club, it’s not lik the money is needed.