Sunderland have had their fair share of transfer flops and successes over the years as they have been stung with big-money signings and rewarded for low-value bargains.
One player the club struck gold with was goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. They brought him in from Belgian side Sint-Truiden for a fee of £2m in the summer of 2010.
At the time of the deal, then-manager Steve Bruce claimed that he would provide competition between the sticks, saying: “Simon is an excellent young goalkeeper and he has a lot more to offer. I’m sure he will push our current goalkeepers all the way next season.”
The ‘keeper’s final year on Wearside was a superb one as he was an ever-present in the team in the Premier League and kept 11 clean sheets in his 38 outings. He was voted the club’s Player of the Season for his performances and this highlights just how important he was to the team between the sticks.
He went on to play over 200 matches for the Merseyside giants before eventually signing for Club Brugge in his home country back in 2018. During his time at Anfield, Brendan Rodgers hailed him for his “dominant” goalkeeping and Reds coach John Achterberg described him as an “all-rounder.”
In the 2014/15 campaign, he was named Liverpool’s Player of the Season for his displays in goal and this shows that he carried his form from his time at Sunderland.
Therefore, former Black Cats manager Steve Bruce struck gold by signing him for just £2m back in 2010 as the Belgian international went on to enjoy a superb Premier League career with two different clubs.
He earned Sunderland a cool £10m profit whilst also providing three years of excellent service at the Stadium of Light, suggesting he was an undoubted success on Wearside.
Bruce deserves credit for bringing him in and current duo Kristjaan Speakman and Tony Mowbray will be hoping that they can unearth similar bargains in the years to come.