Ex-Sunderland defender reveals his 'easy decision to leave' on deadline day

Sunderland defender Valentine Roberge says it was an 'easy decision' to leave Wearside for a return to France with Reims.

Sunderland boss Gustavo Poyet was backed heavily in the transfer market this summer after guiding the Black Cats to Premier League survival, and the Uruguayan oversaw a number of arrivals as Costel Pantilimon, Billy Jones, Santiago Vergini, Sebastian Coates, Patrick van Aanholt, Jack Rodwell, Jordi Gomez, Will Buckley and Ricardo Alvarez all arrived at the Stadium of Light.

But in order to bring in so many players, Poyet also had to let some go. The likes of Phil Bardsley, Andrea Dossena, Craig Gardner, Kieran Westwood and Ignacio Scocco were all allowed to leave the club this summer, and another player moved on with the transfer deadline closing in.

French centre back Valentin Roberge, 27, arrived under Paolo di Canio's reign having impressed in Portugal with Maritimo. A free transfer after letting his contract run down, Roberge made only 10 appearances for the Black Cats, and after Vergini and Coates were signed, Roberge knew he had to leave.

A season-long loan deal with French side Reims gives him a move back to his homeland, and Roberge said it was an easy decision to leave.

"There were lots of positive things from my year at Sunderland," he told the Sunderland Echo. "I wanted to play in France sooner or later, and then it’s football. You don’t know when the opportunity is going to arrive."

"I know the coach and two or three players, so, all in all, it was the best decision for me. It wasn’t an easy decision to leave Sunderland. But after speaking with the club and the coach, I thought it was truly the right decision to make.”

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