Newcastle United are partly responsible for Sunderland's struggles this season after they signed Jack Colback from the Black Cats last summer.
Colback joined Newcastle on a free transfer after rejecting Sunderland's offer of a new deal and his absence has been sorely felt by Gus Poyet's team.
The Black Cats moved to replace Colback with Jack Rodwell, but the former Manchester City man has not been able to live up to his predecessor's standards and that has been a major reason behind the Wearsiders' struggles this term.
Sunderland are in a relegation battle and their lack of a midfield presence has meant that the team has looked frail throughout the year.
Last season Colback was arguably Sunderland's most consistent performer and since he has moved on his value to the their team has been highlighted.
|Season||Tackles per game||Interceptions per game||Defensive duels won per game||Headers per game||Passes per game||Passing Accuracy||Touches per game||Chances created per game||Appearances||Mins Played|
The flame-haired midfielder was better than Rodwell in almost every area, with his defensive and attacking statistics superior.
Colback was making more tackles, more interceptions and he was also winning more battles than Rodwell has at Sunderland so far.
Going forward too, the 25-year-old was more effective. Colback was more frequent and accurate with his distribution, whilst he also created far more chances for his teammates than Rodwell has so far.
It shows the amount that Rodwell needs to raise his game if he is to prove a sufficient replacement for Colback, who has proven a bigger loss than many could have predicted.
Newcastle's own season may not have been particularly memorable, but they certainly have limited their near neighbour's chances of success and that is likely to make their capture of Colback even more satisfying.