WAHBI KHAZRI is set to be the subject of a Ligue 1 transfer tussle this summer, with Sunderland hoping to land a financial windfall from the sale of the winger.

Having confirmed the permanent departure of Jeremain Lens earlier this week, Sunderland are also set to rubber-stamp Fabio Borini’s full-time exit from the Stadium of Light, with the Italian forward already having triggered a clause in his loan deal at AC Milan.

Khazri’s loan deal at Rennes does not include an automatic buyout option, but the Tunisian’s performances in the French top-flight have already persuaded a number of clubs to make contact with Black Cats officials to discuss a potential summer deal.

Rennes would like to sign Khazri permanently, with the 27-year-old having scored a penalty against Troyes last weekend to take his tally for the season to eight goals in 16 league games.

Khazri has appeared as a central striker and on the left of an attacking three, with his relationship with former West Ham forward Diafra Sakho having played a major role in Rennes’ rise to seventh position in the Ligue 1 table.

Earlier in the season, the Rennes hierarchy were admitting they would struggle to put together an acceptable package for a permanent deal, both in terms of meeting Sunderland’s demands for a transfer fee and matching Khazri’s wage requirements over the length of a long-term contract.

However, qualification for the Europa League could change that, with Rennes, who still have some money outstanding from Ousmane Dembele’s sell-on clause that was triggered when he left Borussia Dortmund to join Barcelona, currently on course to claim a European place.

“He is a decisive player, and the key that shows us the way to success,” said Rennes manager Sabri Lamouchi. “He is invested and focused on Stade Rennais. We will try to have fun while he is here, and see what happens at the end of the season.”

Khazri’s performances have not gone unnoticed around the rest of the French top-flight, and both Marseille and Nice have expressed an interest in a summer deal.

Marseille are currently fighting with Monaco and Lyon for an automatic Champions League place, and are expected to embark on another rebuilding project this summer, with plenty of money in the bank.

Nice have been short of attacking midfielders this season, and are keen to make a number of additions once the transfer window reopens.

Sunderland will hope to spark a bidding war in the summer, with their future financial security at least partially dependent on their ability to recoup significant transfer funds before the end of August.

Lens’ departure netted around €6m, of which €1.5m had already been received as a loan fee, while AC Milan will pay around €5.5m for Borini.

Sunderland shelled out around £9m to sign Khazri from Bordeaux in January 2016, and even when the current campaign ends, he will still have another two years of his Stadium of Light contract remaining.

Even if the Black Cats were to recoup €3-4m for his services, the savings on his wages over the next two seasons would be hugely significant and make a deal worthwhile.

Sunderland will also hope to engineer the sale of Papy Djilobodji, although the centre-half has struggled to make much of an impact with Dijon, who are currently sitting in mid-table in the French First Division.

Chris Coleman takes his side to Millwall tomorrow, having been forced to switch training from the Academy of Light training ground to the Stadium of Light yesterday morning.

Coleman helped the club’s ground-staff remove snow from the pitch to ensure his players were able to train, and tomorrow’s game at the Den is not thought to be at risk despite the wintry weather that has swept across the country in the last few days.

“The opposition means it’s going to be tough, but opportunities are there to be taken,” said the Sunderland boss, whose side have slipped five points adrift of safety at the foot of the Championship table. “For me, there are opportunities in a short space of time that can flip everything. That’s how I see it, and I’m looking forward to it.

“You never achieve anything by it coming easy. There’s always a little bit of suffering and adversity, but you have to face that. People do fall by the wayside, and people will look at our situation and criticise us and want us to stay where we are. Certain people enjoy that, and enjoy those moments when someone is suffering.

“But if you can muster up a challenge and a fight, and you drag yourself up and pull yourself away from that area, the satisfaction in that is incredible. I know it because I’ve experienced it before. It’s never easy, and there are no guarantees, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t do it just because everybody thinks you can’t.”