Jeremain Lens has exited Championship side Sunderland for Besiktas to play alongside Ryan Babel. It was widely reported that the player would exit soon but the club has now confirmed that the winger has left the club. Before the Black Cats acknowledged the sale, the Turkish side had posted a video online that showed the player and another addition Alvaro Negredo.
Lens was also pictured on the club’s social media links on Twitter and Instagram hinting that the deal had been completed – before Sunderland later confirmed the sale. The player in questioned had even retweeted the online picture of him posted by the Super Lig side and added a message that a Besiktas player Ryan Babel sent to him. It was later that Sunderland announced that the deal had been completed.
Lens netted four times in the preseason to confuse fans over his next move as reports were rife that he was certainly leaving during the summer. The Dutch international played a key role in the team since he joined in Dick Advocaat’s tenure. The former manger managed the player at PSV Eindhoven and even at the international stage before bringing him to England.
Lens played at Fenerbahce last term on a season-long loan, where he piqued Besiktas’ interest. The player stated his interest in continuing in the league with Fenerbahce but the deal did not happen so the rivals made the move. Whilst Fenerbahce are the title favourites – click here for the latest odds – Galatasaray and Besiktas have both strengthened and will put up a fierce challenge.
At Besiktas, there is opportunity to feature in the Champions League and reunite with former players at the various clubs he has played for. Sunderland managers Sam Allardyce, David Moyes and now Simon Grayson did not have the player in their plans else they might have sought to retain him. He was somewhat underwhelming during the time he spent at the club.
Meanwhile, French club Nice have secured the signing of midfielder Wesley Sneijder following his release from Turkish giants Galatasaray. The Netherlands international has signed a one-year contract with the Ligue 1 outfit after he decided to buy himself out of his Galatasaray contract for €4.5m. The Turkish League will be sad to see him go.
Sneijder, who is the Netherlands’ most-capped player in history, bagged five goals and 17 assists for the Istanbul outfit last season. MLS expansion franchise Los Angeles and Sampdoria were both keen on pursuing his services earlier last week, but he opted to join the French league instead where he will hold a fresh challenge with Nice.
“It’s now official. OGC Nice’s 2017-18 squad now has a third UEFA Champions League winner in it. After Dante and Mario Balotelli, former European champion Wesley Sneijder will also wear the red-and-black shirt this season after passing a medical on Monday. He also knows which shirt he’ll be wearing this season. Mika Le Bihan respectfully agreed to ‘give up’ the number 10 he had been wearing it to present it to the new arrival in the dressing room,” a statement on the club’s website said.
Sneijder’s addition is likely to have a direct influence of Ivorian midfielder Jean Seri, who has been strongly linked with a summer exit from Allianz Riviera. Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham Hotspur are all said to be in the hunt for his services, and he could be cashed in in order to recruit a couple more players to the ranks.
The French outfit have done extremely well in their domestic league over the past few seasons, and they will have the chance to qualify for the Champions League proper, should they beat Napoli across two-legs in the playoff round. Despite his trailing age, Sneijder continues to be an influential player for the Holland national team for whom he has managed 131 caps to date.