LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 02: Nicklas Bendtner of Arsenal celebrates scoring a hat trick during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 5th Round Replay match between between Arsenal and Leyton Orient at the Emirates Stadium on March 2, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Well the summer transfer window has, at long last, slammed itself shut for a while, thank f**k, and we know what we have to work with until January at least.
Its certainly safe to say this summer was a busy one for Sunderland with no fewer than 10 signings arriving since the window opened way back on June 1st. Yes, despite the last minute madness, managers and clubs have had ages to sort these deals out, and it does make you wonder about the whole way transfers work.
Anyway, that's not what this article is about, we're rounding up all the transfers that have come in and out over the summer and giving a few opinions on each one now the dust has well and truly settled. Let's get on with it...
Nicklas Bendtner - In on a season's loan from Arsenal, with an option to buy for £8m. I'm happy with the signing. Somewhat unexpected as people saw us chasing Wolfsburg's Helmes and Spurs' Crouch, but we eneded up with neither and Bendtner it is. We all know about him, so you can make your own minds up, but I'm happy. I've always felt with games, and less of an expectant crowd he'd do well. Prove me right Nicklas! Here's our other article on the Danish striker - Link
Keiren Westwood - We thought he'd be right in at number one, but it would appear the Irish international will have to wait as Simon Mignolet remains between the sticks. Westwood is a solid keeper, and could easily start at several other teams in the Premier League, so I'm delighted we have him, but how long will he wait? Either way, Keiren is a solid signing. See our previous article on Westwood here - Link
Wes Brown - At the time of his signing there was concerns from all about his level of fitness, but he seems to have proved it thus far, touch wood, and is a cut above anyone else we have at the club. Not only does he ooze class, but his ability to get others playing well and act almost as a coach on the pitch is impeccable. Top quality stuff, and even better if the rumoured £1m fee is true. See our previous article on Brown here - Link
John O'Shea - Perhaps the biggest name to arrive at the club, and the one we all felt would be an immediate impact on the team. Sadly, that hasn't really happened as he was taken off during preseason as a 'precaution', which seemed to turn into something more serious as we never saw him again until Swansea. Looks as though he'll be our right back, but I'm sure we'll see him in a variety of roles. Yet again, great business by Brucey. See our previous article on O'Shea here - Link
Sebastian Larsson - Brought into the club to play on the right and deliver some quality set-pieces, we've only really seen him do one of those so far. Seb has found himself on the left more often than not, and his set pieces have, in the main, been great, but there is room for improvement. Once he's on the right, and more settled in the team he'll go on to be a star for us. See what Birmingham City fans told us about him when he signed - Link
Craig Gardner - Also making the move up from the midlands with Seb was his goal-scoring midfield compadre, Craig Gardner. Gardner we all thought would be an exceptional signing and become the missing link between midfield and attack. That hasn't quite materialized yet, and in his limited action has looked more combative than we'd have expected. At least he shoots from outside the box occasionally, which is more than can be said for most of his new teammates. Here's what Birmingham City fans told us about him - Link
David Vaughan - The glue of Blackpool's midfield eventually completed his protracted move to Wearside, however it would appear thus far that Steve Bruce doesn't really know what to do with him. A good cover for either Jack Colback or Lee Cattermole, but with those two looking a solid tandem, plus Craig Gardner ahead of him in the pecking order, it's a wonder what we'll do with him. Hopefully there's a plan. Our article on David Vaughan from when he signed - Link
Ahmed Elmohamady - Well, not much we can say on this one. We made the move a permanent one from ENPPI for £2.5m, and who knows, he might come good. Often the target of the boo-boys, and unfairly for me as he's still only in his early twenties and has plenty years ahead of him. A willing runner, and a decent fill-in when required. See our article on Elmohamady here - Link
Connor Wickham - The most costly of our acquisitions this summer, but perhaps the most likely to ever become a super star, and a true statement of ambition. Signing young Connor from under the noses of the big boys showed everyone that we do mean business. He's not ready yet, but give him time and he'll be a fine player. He wasn't touted as one of the best in Europe in his age group for no reason. See our article on Wickham here - Link
Ji Dong-Won - Nope, we'd never heard of him either, but from all reports which came in at the time he seems a decent prospect. Tall and athletic, and good with the ball at feet in way that transcends cliche. Has been one of the most impressive performers in pre-season, and once he's become accustomed to the pace of the Premier League could be a steal. At worst, it's nothing really lost. Korean writers told us all about him here - Link
Roarie Deacon - One for the developmental squad, the lanky attacker was released by Arsenal to many Gunner's surprise, and he's now going to be a regular in our reserve team. From the limited action in which we've seen him thus far, he's certainly got a trick or two up the sleeve, is very, very strong, and can finish with either foot. For free, why the hell not! Read our article on Roarie Deacon here - Link
James McClean - Signed fairly recently from Derry City for a pittance, the 22 year old could be one of many things... A diamond in the rough, a late bloomer, or just another Roy O'Dononvan. Who knows? It looks more likely though he'll be one of the first two. The left winger is a direct runner, physically in good shape to be a Premier League player, but of course we all know it's a different animal. Certainly worth a punt. Read the thoughts of Irish League writers right here - Link
Anton Ferdinand - Off to QPR for an undisclosed fee, we say farewell to mini-Rio. Anton was nearly out the door last year and came back to play a vital part towards the end of the season. This continued over the pre-season and into the start of the 2011/12 season. On a massive wedge however apparently, and with a year left we'd have been foolish not to take it. Our article on Anton's departure is here - Link
George McCartney - Joining West Ham United on a season long loan, all we can do really is pity them. Of course George is well within his rights to stick around the club and pick up his extortionate wages, but it's unbecoming of a professional isn't it? West Ham have kindly stumped up all his wages while he's away too, and with him out of contract at the end of the season, this might as well be a transfer. Farewell George, you did nowt second time around. Our reaction is right here - Link
Steed Malbranque - A somewhat surprising departure was that of Steed to St. Etienne of Ligue 1. Perhaps even more shocking was his decision to almost immediately retire from football on his arrival. Looks as though we might have dodged a bullet. Whatever Steed get's up to now, we wish him well. He was a more than handy fill in when required, but unfortunately for Steed, no more than that. Read our reaction here - Link
Liam Noble - Off to Carlisle United for the season yet again, Noble looks set to spend his entire career at that level. No loss whatsoever to the first team or the reserve team.
Cristian Riveros - Our Paraguayan Turkey heads off to Turkey, and more specifically Kayserispor. Again, he tried, and I think every fan wanted him to make something of himself in England, but unfortunately he didn't quite manage to fit in to the team. Didn't fit our style of play, so we'll see you later Cristian. Our reaction here - Link
Jordan Henderson - I was in absolute denial at the time of his transfer, and even for a while afterwards. Now a few months down the line I can honestly say I don't know what I was so bothered about. We've improved the squad immensely since he's gone, and used the vast money we received well. Our reaction to Henderson's departure here - Link
Bolo Zenden - And lastly, the retirement of our much beloved Bolo. A good servant to the club, and provided a calm head and some vital performances in the back end of the 2010/11 season. Farewell Bolo, you will be missed by all. Hopefully one day Bolo decides to come back as a coach, as was offered to him, as everyone has spoken highly of him, and I'm sure he could teach our young lads a thing or two.
And that's all the transfer news this summer. Pretty busy one wasn't it? all in all though aren't we just glad it's all over now? I know I am.