Ji heading for Sunderland exit

Ji heading for Sunderland exit

Ji heading for Sunderland exit

First published in Sport The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

SUNDERLAND striker Ji Dong-won will end his unsuccessful spell on Wearside when the transfer window reopens at the start of next month.

The South Korean's former club, Chunnam Dragons, have confirmed their desire to re-sign the 21-year-old, while German side Augsburg are ready to make a formal offer having initially revealed their interest at the start of the month.

Martin O'Neill is short of attacking options and ruled out letting Fraizer Campbell leave after the England under-21 international scored at Manchester United at the weekend.

But the Sunderland boss will not stand in Ji's way after concluding that the forward is not cut out for life in the Premier League.

Ji famously scored the winner against Manchester City on New Year's Day, but since then, he has made just one Premier League start and five substitute appearances.

None of them have come this season, with O'Neill not even naming the youngster amongst his substitutes in recent weeks.

A return to Chunnam Dragons would appeal to all parties, although Sunderland will be keen to ensure they are not left out of pocket.

The Black Cats signed Ji for £2.5m in 2011, but with a portion of that fee understood to have been dependent on future appearances and performances, it should be possible to come to an agreement with Chunnam that effectively cancels out Sunderland's outlay.

Reports in the Korean media suggest Chunnam officials have suggested a £1.1m fee, and there now appears little likelihood of Ji extending his stay in the North-East beyond the end of January.

He could remain in Europe if Augsburg persuade him to join their relegation fight at the bottom of the Bundesliga, although the German club are only understood to be interested in a loan deal with a possible view to a future permanent signing.

"Augsburg have been in touch and would be interested in Ji, but they are not the only club who want to take him," said O'Neill at the start of the month.

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