Confirmed: Sunderland forward secures permanent departure | OneFootball

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Football League World

·1 April 2022

Confirmed: Sunderland forward secures permanent departure

Article image:Confirmed: Sunderland forward secures permanent departure

Sunderland have confirmed that 22-year-old forward Benji Kimpioka has joined Swedish side AIK Fotboll on a permanent deal.

Kimpioka has spent six years at the Stadium of Light but despite featuring more than 50 times for the U23s and often appearing on the fringes of the senior squad, he has struggled to make the transition to first team football.

Back in January, he was tipped by Black Cats forward Ross Stewart to play a part in Sunderland’s promotion push but late last night the North East club confirmed that his time on Wearside had come to an end.

The club announced that the forward had joined Allsvenskan side AIK Fotboll for an undisclosed fee.

Black Cats sporting director Kristjaan Speakman explained why Kimpioka, whose contract was set to expire in the summer, had left the Stadium of Light.

He said: “Benji has been unable to make an impact at first-team level due to incredibly strong competition for places and understandably he has a desire to play regular senior football, so this represents a good opportunity for him.

“He’s a likeable young player who will be missed by his team-mates and club staff, but we wish him the very best in the next chapter of his career.”

18 appearances in total, scoring four times.

The Sweden U21 international spent time on loan with Torquay United and Southend United last year.

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The Verdict

This move seems to have come out of nowhere and following Jermain Defoe’s retirement, supporters may have been hoping to see the 22-year-old get a chance under Alex Neil.

He’s been viewed as an exciting prospect by the Stadium of Light faithful for some time but leaves without ever really fulfilling that potential – though it is unclear whose fault that is.

With his contract set to expire in the summer, getting a fee for Kimpioka, however nominal, can be viewed as good business from a Sunderland perspective, particularly if he was pushing for a move.

Speakman’s comments suggest the departure was driven by the player’s determination to play more senior football and that cannot be held against him.

It’s a departure that’s likely to leave a few fans frustrated that they never saw the best of the forward.

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