BLACKBURN have not given up hope of re-signing Junior Hoilett despite a queue of clubs vying to land the Sunderland target.
Hoilett has technically left Ewood Park after his contract with the Championship new boys expired at the end of last season.
The 22-year-old had been close to agreeing a deal with Bundesliga giants Borussia Monchengladbach earlier in the summer, but the move was never finalised and the winger’s long-term future remains unresolved.
A host of suitors, including Sunderland, remain keen to land Hoilett, who would force any Premier League club to pay substantial compensation to Blackburn due to his age.
But Blackburn boss Steve Kean is still in talks with Hoilett over a new deal, even though the Canadian is highly unlikely to drop into the Championship.
Kean said: “Junior is out of contract and we’ve made him a very good offer. It’s not dead yet.
“If a club in this country signs him, there will be big compensation. We’d like him still to be here but I’m in the dark a little bit.
“When a player runs out of contract, you make him a good offer and he doesn’t sign, you fear the worst, but we’ll just have to wait and see.”
Sunderland have been tracking Hoilett all summer after chief scout Pop Robson watched the wideman in action on several occasions for Blackburn last season.
But they face stiff competition for his signature with Monchengladbach still in the hunt and Arsenal known to have held talks with his agent and father David Hoilett snr.
Newcastle have also been linked to Hoilett, but the Magpies are now thought to have dropped out of the race due to his wage demands, which are thought to be around the £50,000 mark.
That would prove a major barrier for Sunderland too and Martin O’Neill would need to be at his most persuasive to persuade Hoilett to accept a lower figure at the Stadium of Light.
But QPR manager Mark Hughes, who first signed Hoilett for Blackburn, does have the wage budget available to meet Hoilett’s demands and is interested in him after completing a big-money deal for Manchester United’s Park Ji-Sung yesterday.