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Even though they might currently be plying their trade in the third tier of English football, Sunderland are an incredibly historic club. And this is reflected both in their trophy cabinet and big transfer fees. Of course, just four years ago, they were still battling in the top-flight and naturally, with a much bigger budget, the deals they made back then were much bigger than they are now.
For that reason, it doesn’t surprise that their current record holder for the most expensive signing ever is still Didier Ndong and he was bought from FC Lorient for an incredible sum of £18m back in 2016/17.
Upon arrival, Ndong surpassed the previous record that was held by Asamoah Gyan for his £14.4m transfer fee that Sunderland had to pay to snatch him away from Stade Rennais in 2010/11. A couple of years later, they would also buy Steven Fletcher from Wolverhampton Wanderers for £13.6m and the forward is still their third most expensive signing to date.
And if arrivals were impressive, wait until you see their record departures. In 2017/18, the Black Cats let go of Jordan Pickford who joined the Toffees for a record fee of £25.6m – a figure that is yet to be surpassed and will likely stay at number one for quite some time.
But before Pickford, there was Darren Bent and his departure to Aston Villa in 2010/11 for a reported sum of £19.3m, which is still the second most expensive sale at the club. A year later, they would also sell a 21-year-old Jordan Henderson to Liverpool for £16.2m – the rest, as they say, is history.
Needless to say, Sunderland were lucky enough to have plenty of big names don their colours over the years. And when it comes to famous transfers, we simply have to mention the arrival of Bent in 2009/10. The centre-forward would end up having quite a career as one of the Black Cats and was then sold for a record fee shortly after.
Not to mention that the manner in which he left still rubs many fans the wrong way but there are more ways of being famous than just the good one, huh?
And then there are the legendary players like Niall Quinn or Kevin Phillips whose transfers ended up having an incredible impact on the club as a whole. There are more, of course, like Jermain Defoe, the legendary captain Kevin Ball or the iconic Charlie Hurley, just to name a few the fans remember dearly.
Some of those names on the list could even get a shout for Sunderland’s best-ever players but that’s a topic for another time…