Stoppila Sunzu; what an interesting transfer saga this was.
The Zambian defender had caught the eye with his excellent performances for the Chipolopolo at the African Cup of Nations in 2012; where he scored the winning penalty as Zambia were crowned kings of the continent.
The first team linked with his signature were Arsenal. Arsene Wenger was reportedly keen on snapping up the player; in fact some news sources even claimed a deal was actually complete.
But this was to be the first of many miscommunications involving the talent.
The Arsenal interest faltered as Reading swooped in just prior to Zambia’s Afcon defence in January. He went on trial in Berkshire and Brian McDermott wanted to sign him. Unfortunately however The Royals had been informed that he was a free transfer - which turned out to be false.
Despite passing a medical at the Madejski Stadium he was in fact contracted to TP Mazembe; a DR Congo side considered one of the biggest on the African continent.
It was claimed that his handlers were attempting to recoup as much of a fee as possible from his success in England but the fact was Mazembe wanted a fee; around £4 million.
Reading refused to pay it and that deal also fell through.
Next to the table was Sunderland. He spent time on trial with the club but got injured in a behind closed-doors friendly which cut his stint with the club short.
In the end any chance of him signing for the club fell apart when Paolo Di Canio took over from Martin O’Neill as manager.
So what is he doing now? Did he get a dream European move?
In fact the player has returned to TP Mazembe in order to get his career back on track, and start playing football again, after six months of trying to earn a move in his new destination.
"I am glad with this new atmosphere in the team, with new players and a new coach, and have been able to find my former teammates. It is as if we had known for several weeks with the new recruits arrived during my absence. I got very friendly welcome by my elders. It was really cool, I belong to this family and I'm not a new player. The TPM is like a religion to which I have already been initiated."
Will this be the last we hear of Sunzu? I doubt it but right now he has to focus on playing football again. He has been unfortunate in some of the decisions he has made and by being given bad advice from those people supposed to be looking after him.
But we may still see him on our shores permanently sometime in the future.
image: © ennaimi