HULL CITY face competition for Ahmed Elmohamady’s signature, if they want to land the Sunderland winger in a £2million deal.
The Echo understands newly-promoted Hull have opened talks with Sunderland over signing Elmohamady after the Egyptian enjoyed a hugely successful loan spell at the KC Stadium this season.
A clause was inserted into the loan to convert the deal into a £2m permanent move, if Steve Bruce’s side managed to achieve promotion, and Hull are hopeful of keeping Elmohamady for their return to the Premier League.
But Hull are a long way from agreeing personal terms with Elmohamady, who could still feasibly return to Sunderland after a change in the Black Cats dug-out.
Hull’s inability to strike a deal has alerted other suitors to the possibility of landing the 25-year-old during the summer.
Two clubs, one in the Premier League and the other in the Championship, are understood to be keen on gazumping Hull to his signature.
While the Tigers remain favourites to sign Elmohamady, particularly as the winger has enjoyed working again under ex-Black Cats boss Bruce, his form in winning Hull’s Player of the Season accolade en route to promotion from the Championship, has not gone unnoticed.
Sunderland are unlikely to block Elmohamady’s departure, with just 12 months remaining on his contract at the Stadium of Light after joining the Wearsiders in a £2m permanent deal in the summer of 2011, following a successful loan spell.
The Black Cats would get their money back for offloading Elmohamady, plus remove him completely from the wage bill.
And with Sunderland mindful of the regulations stemming from FIFA Fair Play, plus Premier League clubs regulating themselves to use only £4million of the new TV deal on wages, the club are aware of the need to balance the books.
But Di Canio’s appointment as Sunderland’s new head coach opens a potential window for Elmohamady to return to Wearside.
It was Martin O’Neill who sanctioned Elmohamady’s season-long loan switch - albeit he returned to Sunderland for a fortnight in January - and Di Canio has had no opportunity to gauge Elmohamady’s ability or indicate a preference for his future with the wideman’s camp.
Elmohamady is currently on international duty with Egypt ahead of World Cup qualifiers against Zimbabwe and Mozambique next month, with his domestic future expected to be resolved after those crunch games.