In football, there are so many what-if moments. On a yearly basis, fans of different clubs are left wondering what would happen for them had one minor detail been different, and Sunderland fans are no different. The Black Cats are currently vying for promotion to the Championship after a double drop, yet Wahbi Khazri could have saved the Mackems.
The Tunisian attacking midfielder is one of the brightest sparks in Ligue 1 at the moment. His tally of 12 goals and three assists from positions out wide and in attacking midfield in his 25 games in the French top flight is an incredible return, and Sunderland fans will be wondering where that form was when he was turning out for them throughout their fateful 2016/17 season.
Khazri has proven to be more than talented enough to be able to take a team by the scruff of the neck and drag them up a league table, so the question is where was that when he was plying his trade at the Stadium of Light? In their relegation season, the Tunisian managed a meagre one goal and zero assists in 21 games for the Wearside club as they pitifully fell to relegation.
Even after that initial shocker, you’d think that a player of Khazri’s quality would be determined to put it right. However, when presented with a second chance to get the club back where they belong, the 28-year-old bottled it and took a loan move to Stade Rennais as his parent club sank to yet another embarrassing season and fell to the third tier of English football for the first time in 31 years.
Had Khazri stayed at the club, there is almost no doubting that he would have been able to turn defences inside out for fun in the Championship.
If he’d have taken that chance and featured for the club instead of running away on-loan then the Black Cats may well be a Premier League club instead of a League One club right now, and all that the Mackems can do now is watch on as Khazri has kicked on from his dire days at the Stadium of Light to become a Ligue 1 star.
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