McCarthy dashes Moroccan's hopes

Talal El Karkouri’s hopes of winning a permanent move to Sunderland have been dashed by manager Mick McCarthy.

Talal El Karkouri’s hopes of winning a permanent move to Sunderland have been dashed by manager Mick McCarthy.

The 26-year-old Moroccan international, who played nine games for the Black Cats on loan from Paris St Germain, has been told he will not be kept on as McCarthy attempts to rebuild his squad for the first division.

Injury meant that El Karkouri missed the last four games of a dreadful season and therefore had little chance to impress his new boss, and despite having expressed an interest in staying on Wearside, he will not now get his wish.

“Talal El Karkouri came to the club on loan and it was never envisaged that his stay would last beyond the season that has just finished,” a club spokesman told the official Sunderland website, www.safc.com.

The Moroccan arrived at the Stadium of Light during the January transfer window as then manager Howard Wilkinson’s only new signing, and although he performed creditably both in central defence and midfield, he was unable to help halt the slide which made relegation inevitable.

He made his debut in the 4-1 defeat at Tottenham on February 8, the first of nine consecutive appearances.

However, he never finished on a winning side as the Black Cats ended the campaign with a run of 16 successive Premiership defeats.

El Karkouri becomes the latest in a string of defenders who have been told they have no future on Wearside after Emerson Thome, Phil Babb and Joachim Bjorklund were handed free transfers.

With Jody Craddock and Michael Gray likely to be targets for Premiership clubs during the summer, McCarthy seems certain to recruit at the back.

Utility man Darren Williams, former Liverpool full-back Stephen Wright and youngsters George McCartney, Ben Clark, Mark Rossiter and Cliff Byrne make up the bulk of what he will have left at his disposal, and that is a list which is desperately short of senior experience.

However, McCarthy has already shown in his time at the Stadium of Light in blooding new faces Richie Ryan, Chris Black and Sean Thornton that he is not afraid to give youth a chance.

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