Gardner Joins Sporting
Sporting Clube de Portugal look to have almost completed their summer transfer business after announcing the loan of English midfielder Craig Gardner from Sunderland for the 2012-13 season. This was another of the areas that was outlined by their new manager Lothar Matthaus as one of the vital areas that needed to be improved after Elias was loaned back to Brazil, and Izmailov was sold to fierce rivals Porto at the start of the summer, meaning someone needed to come in, and Gardner is that man.
Many were shocked when Gardner was announced by the club, as there are creditable rumours that Sporting are struggling to control the wages, and given Gardner's reported £35k p/w wage at the Stadium of Light, it further adds to the Sporting wage bill. Figures haven't been fully reported by the club, but sources close to Sporting's inner circle say Sporting are paying £10.5k of Gardner's wage until he leaves the club, as well as an additional monthly fee of £65k p/m.
Fans have taken to the Internet to voice their concern that this signing is really he right one to help move the club forwards, with many considering this season to be with his biggest club of his career so far, at the age of 25. Gardner started off at Aston Villa, who play in the Premier League although never really managed to make the breakthrough, making just 59 appearances in the five years before moving across the city to Birmingham City for £3m in a shock move in January 2010. He went on to make 42 league appearances in the season and a half before he made the move to Sunderland at the beginning of last season for £6m. He went on to make 30 league appearances in is debut season with the Black Cats, and helped them to a 13th place finish in the Premier League.
Now though, like most of Sporting's other signings, Gardner has been transfer-listed by his parent club, and joined Sporting to have the chance to prove himself once again, and put himself back in the plans of his Sunderland manager. However, he may also be hoping that he can prove he is good enough to make the step-up to Sporting, and try and win a permanent transfer to the Estadio Jose Avalade next summer.
Whilst playing for o Verde-e-Brancos Garnder will wear the number 25 shirt, and is expected to line up alongside Stijn Schaars in central midfield.