Players come and go at football clubs every year and teams are never going to get every transfer right as Sunderland have proven many times over the years.
A player failing at a club does not always mean that it was their fault or that they are a bad player though and that is showcased by how well some gems have done after leaving the Stadium of Light.
One example of this is Belgian international centre-back Jason Denayer, who has blossomed since his spell with the club in the 2016/17 campaign.
He joined the Black Cats on loan from Manchester City in the summer of 2016 and was one of David Moyes’ signings ahead of that season.
Prior to this switch, then-Belgium national team boss Marc Wilmots heaped praise on him, saying: “Jason is like Eden Hazard. Always calm. I’ve never seen him nervous; he has a lot of confidence and there will be someone with experience standing next to him.
However, he was unable to catch the eye on Wearside as he endured a difficult campaign as Sunderland were relegated from the Premier League and he consistently delivered subpar performances. Denayer averaged a WhoScored rating of just 6.54 in the top-flight, which placed him 16th overall in a squad that failed to avoid the drop.
At the end of his time with the Magpies, Transfermarkt valued him at a mere £3.6m. He then spent a season on loan at Galatasaray in Turkey before leaving City on a permanent basis to sign for Ligue 1 giants Lyon.
Since joining the French outfit, Denayer has played 136 times and scored eight goals from centre-back. In four top-flight campaigns for the club, he has averaged an impressive SofaScore rating of 6.91 or higher and this shows that he has been consistently impressive at the back in France.
This has led to his value soaring over the years, with Transfermarkt now rating him at £18m as it stands. The Belgian’s value has risen £14.2m since he left Sunderland and this perfectly illustrates why you should never write a player off based on one campaign.
Had the Black Cats signed him on another loan in the Championship or potentially bought him on a permanent basis then he may well have blossomed on Wearside. Instead, Sunderland may be looking at him thriving in France and be left wondering what could have been, especially as they now sit in the third tier.