SUNDERLAND will look to sell Asamoah Gyan to the highest bidder in the wake of a Qatari club coming in for him.
The Middle Eastern interest is set to challenge Al-Ain’s hopes of converting their loan deal for the Sunderland striker into a permanent loan deal this summer.
And it could spark a bidding war for a player who has become hot property in the Middle East since his controversial move on the final day of last summer’s transfer window.
Sunderland will be happy if that proves to be the case, having decided that they will not look to recall the striker this summer.
Ex-Black Cats boss Steve Bruce was staggered by the Ghanaian’s decision to swap the English Premier League for the riches on offer in the United Arab Emirates and had no intention of putting him back in red and white stripes again.
Things were up in the air for a while with Bruce’s departure and Martin O’Neill’s arrival but the Echo understands that the club will still look to cash in on a player they bought from Rennes for a fee of £12million in 2010.
Sunderland recouped half that sum when they agreed a season-long loan for the wantaway 26-year-old last year and Al-Ain believe a further £3million this summer will make that transfer permanent.
The Black Cats, though, will consider all options before letting any deal go through.
The striker’s star has fallen on the world stage since he accepted the big-money move – internationally, his profile has all but disappeared while at home his performances for Ghana have attracted such criticism that he has spoken of retiring from playing again for his country.
In the UAE though, he has established himself as a star player, scoring 11 goals in 10 league games and 16 in all competitions and when he becomes available this summer, Al-Ain – favourites to win their league title this season – might find themselves struggling to hold on to their star player.
Al-Ain chief Carlo Nohra, however, says the Pro-League leaders are confident they will get their man.
“Everyone is declaring their interest in Gyan, and rightly so. He is performing very well and everyone should be interested.
“But we are very comfortable with our legal situation in this.
“We have a contract in place which has certain provisions for a permanent transfer, so we are in no rush to make the decision now. We are in the driving seat and we will remain in that position until the clauses in the deal expire.”
One of the clauses, it has been suggested, is that should Al-Ain offer a further £3million for the player this summer, the move would become permanent.
“We are in an even stronger position than in having first rights,” he said. “But let’s leave it at that – it is important for the Al-Ain fans to know that the club is comfortable with its own legal position in respect to all of this.
“The player himself has a role in this and so do Sunderland.
“The agreement that binds the three of us gives Al-Ain priority, but it also gives the player the right to come out and say what he wants as well. We don’t have to do anything before the end of the season and equally nothing can happen before then.”