SUNDERLAND head coach Gus Poyet could be forced to look elsewhere for midfield reinforcements after Swansea City boss Garry Monk revealed Ki Sung-Yueng is part of his plans next season.
The 25-year-old played a big part in the side that reached the Capital One Cup final in March, and after securing their Premier League status for another year, Poyet admitted he was keen to keep the midfielder on Wearside before his form trailed off in the final weeks of the season.
The need for midfield reinforcements has been highlighted by the departures of Craig Gardner – who was allowed to leave last month – and Jack Colback, who joined rivals Newcastle United on Monday.
Jordi Gomez has already signed on after leaving Wigan Athletic on a free transfer, but the likelihood of Ki returning to the Stadium of Light has diminished.
The South Korean international, who is in Brazil preparing for his country’s World Cup opener against Russia on June 17, was deemed surplus to requirements by former Swans boss Michael Laudrup, but Monk has different ideas after being installed as the Danish manager’s permanent successor, and he is willing to give the former Celtic man another chance to prove his worth in south Wales.
“I think Ki is a quality player and, as things stand, he will be with us next season,” Monk revealed.
“Ki can add quality to our squad, he proved that with his performances at Sunderland last season.
“If he is with us next season and he plays and he does well, we will then look at extending his contract.”
Poyet has been monitoring a number of other midfield options including Cardiff City’s Jordan Mutch and Valencia’s Ever Banega, but he faces a battle for both with the south Wales outfit unwilling to sell despite relegation to the Championship, while Tottenham are also understood to be interested in Banega.
Poyet has already allowed several players leave the Stadium of Light this summer, but despite reports he could be set for a quick return to Argentina, it seems the Black Cats boss is willing to give Ignacio Scocco another chance to impress.
Sunderland spent £3m to sign the striker from Internacional in January, but he failed to live up to expectations making just two starts in his first five months on Wearside.
Boca Juniors have shown an interest in offering the 29-year-old a route back to South America, but the player’s representative, Fabian Soldini, revealed it is more likely that Scocco will stay in England, unless Sunderland receive an offer that matches what they paid for him.
“The only way that Scocco could be transferred to Boca is if they pay the same money that Sunderland invested in him, which would be near 5.5million dollars.
“On the other hand, the coach of Sunderland wants Scocco in his team and it is he who makes the decisions at that club.
“Taking that into account, it would be difficult for him to be transferred to an Argentinian team. But, in football, anything can happen.”
Sunderland’s Under-21 side will make the short trip to County Durham when they take on Spennymoor Town in a pre-season fixture.
Kevin Ball’s men will head to The Brewery Field to face the Evo-Stik Division One North side on Saturday, August 9, 3.00pm kick-off.
Supporters can pay on the gate for the game with tickets priced at £4 for adults and £2 for over-60s and under-16s.