Seb Larsson gives update on his Sunderland future

Out-of-work Paul Lambert's odds have drifted
Out-of-work Paul Lambert's odds have drifted
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Sebastian Larsson says he still feels ‘fresh’ and wants to play at the highest level possible after Sunderland’s relegation.

The Swedish international is out of contract at the end of this month and is continuing to weigh up his future.

The 32-year-old suffered a disrupted season, not getting going until December because of a knee operation he underwent in the summer.

He played 23 games for the Black Cats in total as they slipped out of the Premier League after a dismal campaign.

Larsson is one of seven players out of contract, and his name was absent from Sunderland’s retained list, released on Friday, as a result.

Larsson is understood to have been offered new terms by the club, but will wait and see what other offers he has before making a decision over his future.

He said: “The motivation for me is to play at highest level possible. I feel fresh.

“I just turned 32 but feel physically no issues. I will keep going and see what options there are.”

At the other end of the age spectrum are Larsson’s Swedish comrades Joel Asoro and Benjamin Mbunga-Kimpioka.

The pair are regarded as two of Sunderland’s most promising players, and their progress has not gone unnoticed.

The Echo revealed on our website at the weekend that Arsenal are weighing up a £5million double swoop for the exciting duo.

Eighteen-year-old forward Asoro, who joined from Brommapojkarna in 2015, made his first-team bow last season – and became Sunderland youngest ever Premier League player and indeed the youngster Swede ever to appear in the English top-flight.

The Swedish Under-21 man has been tipped to be a first-team member next season, but he may not be seen in the red and white stripes again with a host of Premier League clubs ready to pounce.

Southampton, Everton and Liverpool are all looking at Asoro – but it is Arsenal who are in pole position, and they also want his fellow countryman Mbunga-Kimpioka.

Winger Mbunga-Kimpioka, who only turned 17 earlier this year, arrived from Swedish side Sirius last summer, and has also been tipped to make it into the Black Cats first-team in the next 12 months – but he could be sold before making an appearance.

Arsenal are ready to offer £5million for the pair, with Sunderland understood to be willing to listen to offers for the youngsters.

Asoro was asked about his future while on international duty this week.

He said: “It’s not something you can decide now. We will have to see who the new manager is and whether or not they like me. If not, I will have to look for something. I have to develop and can’t just play U23 football all the time.”

Arsenal were also linked with a move for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford over the weekend.