Sunderland’s fall from grace has been rather incredible.
Just three years ago, they were playing in the Premier League, but that is a far cry from where they are now – they are currently plying their trade in League One. There is no guarantee they will return to the Championship at the end of this term, either – they are currently in seventh place and are fighting it out for a play-off spot.
Wahbi Khazri is one of those who departed the club following their relegation, and has since been rather successful on a personal level across the English channel in France.
Here, we take a look at how he is doing…
After impressing for Bordeaux – he scored 15 goals and provided 15 assists in 64 matches for the French club – the Black Cats decided to part with £9m to take him to the Stadium of Light in 2015. An attacking midfielder, Sam Allardyce will have been hoping he could add a little bit of flair to the side in January.
There were flashes of what he could do in the second half of that campaign – he scored twice and provided one assist as the North East east side managed to stay in the top flight. With their top-tier status secured, many will have hoped to see the Tunisia international kick on.
Unfortunately, he failed to do so. He managed just one goal in 21 matches during the 2016/17 campaign, which proved to be a fateful one for Sunderland. He didn’t stick around to help them in the second tier, instead moving on loan to Stade Rennais in the next transfer window.
The move back to France has rejuvenated him. With the Breton side last term, he scored 11 goals in 29 matches, helping them qualify for the Europa League as they finished in fifth place in Ligue 1. That also proved to be a big year for him on the international stage – he made his first World Cup appearances, and scored twice and provided two assists in Tunisia’s three group stage matches.
He didn’t stay at Rennes, though. Instead, he made the switch to Saint-Etienne. As per Transfermarkt, Sunderland received £6.3m, which equates to a 30% loss on their initial investment.
With Les Verts, his performances went up another level. In 35 matches in all competitions during the 2018/19 campaign, he contributed 14 goals and eight assists as they also qualified for the Europa League.
This season has not been quite as productive to date, but he still has six goals and four assists in 22 matches. Currently valued at £8.1m by Transfermarkt, he has scored 31 strikes in the 86 matches he’s featured in since leaving the Stadium of Light, mostly from midfield roles.
Obviously, relegation was always going to lead to their star players leaving, but Sunderland will have been hoping to get this type of form from him when he was on their books.