New Sunderland signing Kader Mangane in action for former club Rennes
Having been signed from Saudi Arabian side Al-Hilal and thus unknown to most fans, the question on most lips will be, what does he bring to the table?
With O’Neill facing a mini defensive crisis with the absences of Carlos Cueller, West Brown and Danny Rose to injury, the Sunderland manager has moved quickly to bring in cover.
The injury-prone John O’Shea is one of only three central defenders available to O’Neill, the other two being the soon-to-be-without-contract pair of Titus Bramble and Matt Kilgallon. Mangane, therefore, would offer some continuity into next season, should his loan be turned into a permanent move.
Sunderland are a relatively small team and, significantly, Senegal international Mangane’s biggest attribute is his height. At 1.97 metres tall, he will stand head and shoulders above his new teammates.
His turn of pace will also be added bonus to a defence which has had trouble against quicker players this season, yet has coped admirably with crosses and longer balls thrown at it.
Mangane also brings a wealth of experience, with him having played in the top divisions in his home country, Switzerland and France prior to the move to Al-Hilal in July 2012.
Much like midfielder Alfred N’Diaye, Sunderland’s other signing in January, who made his debut as a substitute in the win over West Ham, Mangane provides exactly the kind of physicality the Black Cats have been missing in recent seasons.
Pace and power have been things O’Neill’s side have been lacking since he took over from former manager Steve Bruce, particularly in the midfield areas, and the new additions provide that in spades.