Manager explains why 26-year-old rejected Sunderland

Photo by Jacques Feeney / Getty Images

Portsmouth manager Danny Cowley admitted League One rivals Sunderland wanted to sign Millwall defender Mahlon Romeo before heading to Fratton Park on loan, addressing the Portsmouth News.

The ne says “the form is temporary”. And Sunderland supporters will pray that the class is indeed permanent as history threatens to repeat itself on the banks of the Wear.

They’ve been here before. Sunderland missed a promotion under Jack Ross and Phil Parkinson, starting a season with a bit between his teeth before choking on the pressure.

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The appointment of Lee Johnson, a manager with a proven track record in the above division, was meant to take the Black Cats to the next level – or, in other words, to the championship.

But a two-game winning streak in six league games has left the Stadium of Light loyal to PTSD flashbacks as another promising campaign threatens to crumble.

Why did Mahlon Romeo choose Portsmouth over Sunderland?

As Sunderland has stumbled, Portsmouth is finally heading in the right direction, just three points behind another sleeping giant after winning each of their last four games – a streak that has eased the pressure on manager Danny Cowley.

“We didn’t anticipate Mahlon would become available for us,” Cowley said of Romeo, the 26-year-old right-back who has played a major role in Portsmouth’s rise in the standings.

John Early / Getty Images

“It wasn’t the one we could predict. It became available right at the end of the window. It was too good an opportunity to refuse.

Cowley admits Sunderland was interested in Romeo, but the Millwall-owned defender opted to join a club a little closer to his home in east London.

“I thought he was going to Ipswich and there was even Sunderland, but he wanted to stay in the south. He became available and it was a good deal for us, ”adds the former boss of Huddersfield Town and Lincoln City.

“It would be difficult (to sign Romeo permanently), but we would love to have him.”

Sunderland also missed another highly regarded right-back at Dion Sanderson, with last season’s moneylender joining Birmingham City rather than returning for a second stint at Wearside.

The Black Cats were also fond of Blackpool’s Jordan Gabriel and Arsenal starlet Ryan Alebiosu.

Photo by David Price / Arsenal FC via Getty Images

In other news, the former England international shares his reasons for rejecting Arsenal and Leeds transfers


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