Former Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn has lifted the lid on reasons behind Asamoah Gyan’s departure from the club.
Gyan joined Sunderland from French club Rennes in August 2010 for £13 million following his impressive performance at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
The Ghana forward shockingly left the Black Cats to join United Arab Emirates side Al-Ain after just two seasons despite being an important member at the club.
Seven years after the departure of the 33-year-old poacher, Niall Quinn, who was then chairman of the Birmingham-based outfit, has disclosed why the Ghanaian unexpectedly left the club.
“Whatever players say, I’ll tell you what the agents say and I’ll tell you what goes on behind the scenes,” the former Irish striker revealed.
“With Asamoah, he came to us – via his agent – who said “I have had a huge offer in the Middle East and I must go” to which we told him “look, we can’t do that.”
“We waited a six month period to see if he would come back into line, we gave him a new contract too – although it did pale in comparison to what was on the table from Al-Ain and also he was being pressured by them to make the move.”
“We were hoping he’d go there for three months and hate it and want to come back…”
Quinn continued, “No, he didn’t. The fact of the matter is they were probably offering him five times the amount he was on with us and we were told there was no tax on it, so in theory he was on ten times the amount he was on here.
“If we were right up the top of the league, fighting for a Champions League spot then you have more ability to keep hold of players the way top four clubs do, but we were Sunderland trying really hard to keep everything working.
“If we were to give one of those players the money they were wanting – well, I wasn’t going to sanction that because it puts the club in a terrible position.
“We weren’t taking in any more income, we had hit the level of what we could spend considering Ellis Short gave us a lot of money, another level would have blown the club into another level.
“It was the financial facts of life we have to abide by. Asamoah went, Jordan (Henderson) went – those deals alone brought us in £50m to £60m. You have to do a bit of book balancing as well, because Ellis had funded a lot of moves. I remember when (Lee) Cattermole had became available late in the window and we managed to get him and beat off other clubs because Ellis offered to pay the fee up front – he allowed us to do that. There’s a lot of things like that people don’t know about Ellis and it’s things like that, where he showed his mettle and it wasn’t the only time.”
“But when you do that, you have to balance up the books. You saw it this year with Josh Maja. It was terrible that his development here was stunted by what happened.”
“I understand exactly what the board was going through as that was developing. You can have big problems unless you’re competing in the top six of the big league. Agents can just go to other clubs and say “look at how well my player is doing at Sunderland in the bottom half of the league, imagine what he can do for you” etc etc.
“He’ll then up the ante with the player, tell him he can get more money, put pressure on the club to sell and we made the decision to sell because we were in danger of putting the club in financial danger, so I made those decisions on the players you just mentioned.”
“What you hope is that you can get a player just as good on half as much, but that is very hard to do and for us it didn’t happen.”