'I was gutted': Former Sunderland favourite admits 2016 Wearside exit left him 'depressed'

Sunderland fans celebrate during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Everton at the Stadium of Light on May 11, 2016 in Sunderland, England.

Would Sunderland still be a Premier League club if Younes Kaboul had decided to stay at the Stadium of Light rather than leave for Watford?

Younes Kaboul of Watford during the Premier League match between Watford FC and Sunderland AFC at Vicarage Road on April 1, 2017 in Watford, England.

Younes Kaboul admits he was left ‘gutted’ and ‘depressed’ by his departure from Sunderland in 2016,while  speaking to What the Falk podcast about a move from Wearside to Watford four years ago.

August 19 2016 felt like a big day for the Hornets. Not only did they land a Juventus favourite in the shape of Argentina international Roberto Pereyra, Watford also welcomed a proven Premier League centre-back to Vicarage Road.

But, while Pereyra quickly became a cult hero in Hertfordshire, Kaboul never really got going. The former France international made just 25 Premier League appearances before departing through the back door.


If he could turn back the clock, a former Tottenham and Portsmouth stalwart might be tempted to re-write history and stay at Sunderland for at least another season.

“I was gutted. I was kind of like depressed to leave the football club. I knew I wasn’t just leaving the football club, I was leaving the city and the people. So it was really difficult for me,” says Kaboul, who attributes his decision to ‘family reasons’.

Younes Kaboul of Sunderland during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Sunderland at Etihad Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Manchester, England.

“It’s the people; it’s the human beings in the city. I’d never experienced this anywhere else before. The people from the north east are just special. They are people with big values.

“Niall Quinn was right when he said Sunderland gets under your skin. That’s exactly what happened.”

Considering that Sunderland finished bottom of the Premier League in their first season without the friendly giant that is Kaboul, you’d imagine the Black Cats would also have their regrets about the defender’s decision to move down south.

The Black Cats have been in free-fall ever since, plateauing in League One.

Watford's Younes Kaboul and West Ham United's Michail Antonio during the Premier League match between Watford and West Ham United at Vicarage Road on February 25, 2017 in Watford, England.

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