Sam Allardyce’s predilection for over-the-hill footballers has seen the Sunderland manager take desperate measures to avoid relegation.
With the Black Cats in need of clean sheets and fast, Big Sam has set his sights on bringing in ex-Arsenal defender Emmanuel Eboue.
Most recently with Galatasaray in Turkey, the Ivorian has been without a club since the summer.
But the 32-year-old impressed for Sunderland during a 45-minute appearance in an Under-21s clash against Bristol City.
The potential return of Eboue to the Premier League may not sound exciting at first. But there are plenty of reasons to be excited about the former Gunner’s comeback…
While Arsene Wenger brought innovations like player nutrition to the Premier League, one of Eboue’s legacies was undoubtedly his warm-up: part-professional footballer, part dance student preparing for Flashdance.
Dancing…lots of dancing
Speaking of which, if there is one thing Sunderland fans can expect, it’s for Eboue to get involved in any and all goal celebrations with his moves. Jermain Defoe could find it wearing thin pretty quickly. Fabio Borini need not worry too much.
Impressive language skills
With Big Sam’s attitude towards foreign players stuck firmly in the 1960s, it could be up to Eboue to ensure Sunderland remains cosmopolitan. It’s a good job he’s multi-lingual, or pretending he is.
Plenty of #bantz
It’s reassuring to know that Eboue will be bringing immature, distracting, tomfoolery that helps focus a club battling relegation. Here he is throwing a plastic bottle at a teammate – what a joker!
Impact substitute appearances
Manchester United fans may think that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the ultimate impact substitute. Wrong.
Playing for Arsenal against Wigan, the impact he made after being brought on was so keenly felt inside the Emirates, Wenger had little choice but to sub him off again.
First class media management
Like Gary Lineker in his 80s playing days, Eboue has always taken a keen interest in media work and you couldn’t rule out a stint on Soccer Saturday, given that Paul Merson is gainfully employed there. Here he is conducting an interview with a TV host.
With Big Sam cast in the role of strict dad to Sunderland’s large crop of very naughty boys, Eboue could bring a bit affection to proceedings. Lee Cattermole, for one, could probably benefit from a hug or five.
Here’s Eboue enjoying a very public bromance with former Galatasaray teammate Felipe Melo.
Plenty of general confusion
Whether it’s confusion over his best position on the pitch – full-back, winger, defensive midfielder? – or just general confusion over how he’s able to get a Premier League contract despite having been without a club for three-quarters of a season, Eboue will spread chaos among opposition teams and maybe even his own.
He’s good at getting confused over who the man of the match is too.
Some sensational goals
It’s also important to remember there was a time Eboue was considered one of the best full-backs in the Premier League.
While his defensive attributes may have waned, he’s still more than capable of scoring a screamer every now and then – as this strike against Real Madrid attests.
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.