STEVE Bruce has vowed to work to put the smile on Asamoah Gyan’s face – after “parasites” around the Ghanaian wiped it off.
As one of two Sunderland players injured while on international duty, Gyan will miss today’s Premier League visit of Chelsea. He must wait at least a fortnight to put a turbulent transfer window behind him.
The £13m club record signing was linked with a host of clubs from Tottenham Hotspur, to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, to the giants of Turkish football and Marseille, who Bruce claims asked for Gyan on loan, despite sporting director José Anigo alleging the initiative came from Wearside. Bruce says no one submitted bids.
The Black Cats boss is convinced the speculation caused a change in Gyan’s normally extrovert demeanour – and his sluggish performances.
“Thankfully the window is gone, and me and my staff have got to get Asa turned around into being the striker we paid a lot of money for, the striker who lit up the stadium with his antics,” said Bruce.
“He always had a smile on his face. You’ve seen Asa for the last six weeks, it’s not him. Something’s been bothering him. I’ve said to him, ‘Look, if an offer comes in, I will show you it.’ Until that day he’s got to get back playing. That’s my challenge.
“There has never been a time when I contemplated selling and I cannot see any of the Turkish clubs being able to afford him.”
Gyan has a hamstring strain, while John O’Shea injured his calf with the Republic of Ireland. Both are expected to miss two weeks.
Gyan’s place will be taken by Nicklas Bendtner, on a season-long loan from Arsenal. Bruce would have preferred a permanent deal, but could not get close to his Arsenal wages.