BORUSSIA DORTMUND have revived their interest in Sunderland striker Ji Dong-won, according to reports in Germany.
Last season’s Champions League finalists are eyeing a January move for Ji, who has not featured for the Black Cats since Kevin Ball’s final game in charge as caretaker against Manchester United, in October.
Ji can talk to clubs on the Continent from next month over a summer move, with his Sunderland contract expiring at the end of the season.
But while Sunderland would be owed minimal compensation if the 22-year-old left the Stadium of Light in July, due to his age, a January departure would be financially preferable for the Black Cats.
Sunderland would struggle to recoup anywhere near the £5million offer they turned down from Dortmund in the summer though.
Dortmund made the bid after the South Korean impressed during a loan spell in the Bundesliga last season with Bavarian outfit Augsburg.
But while Sunderland were happy to cash in on a player who had just a year remaining on his contract, the move was vetoed by former head coach Paolo Di Canio, who believed he could mould Ji into a star turn.
“It (the rejected bid) came from me. I was responsible and it should be that way because I’m the manager,” Di Canio told the Echo in August.
“I think he can be crucial for us, especially in a few weeks when the season starts to go forward.”
But Ji, who is currently on the sidelines through injury, has not even been included on the bench under Di Canio’s successor Gus Poyet.
As the Echo reported earlier this month, Poyet has struggled to find a role for Ji in the side, with several Bundesliga sides keeping tabs on his availability.
Poyet said: “He’s a very good player, but I need to find the opportunity to say to him: ‘Here you go. Don’t try to think too much about how we’re playing, just go out there and play’.
“But I don’t know how to play him because that’s what he needs.”