Sunderland ready to battle for Ki Sung-Yeung

Swansea City's  Ki Sung Yueng.
Swansea City's Ki Sung Yueng.
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SUNDERLAND target Ki Sung-Yeung looks destined to quit Swansea before next Monday’s transfer deadline after Michael Laudrup admitted he is prepared to let the South Korean leave the Welsh club.

But the Black Cats still face a battle to land Ki, with Swans boss Laudrup confirming there are several interested parties vying for the midfielder’s signature.

Sunderland held discussions with Swansea last week over the 24-year-old, who is fifth in the pecking order at the Liberty Stadium just 12 months after joining the club in a £6million deal from Celtic.

A season-long loan was originally mooted as a potential agreement, but there have been suggestions in Ki’s homeland that he could leave Swansea on a permanent deal – a possibility that Laudrup has hinted at too.

But the biggest threat to Sunderland’s pursuit comes from interest elsewhere, with Everton keen on Ki, as well as several Bundesliga clubs.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez was eager to sign Ki for Wigan prior to his move to Swansea and the Toffees boss may be in the market for a new central midfielder, if in-demand Marouane Fellaini departs Goodison Park before the transfer window shuts

Swansea want to remove Ki’s lucrative salary from the wage bill and he again wasn’t involved in Laudrup’s squad for yesterday’s encounter with Spurs.

Laudrup says the financial rewards need to be right for the Swans, but gave a strong indication that Ki is unlikely to still be at the Liberty after September 2.

“There’s a lot of things there and we just have to see in the next days,” Laudrup said.

“We are in the last week and we have to make a valuation for each player.

“If there is something we can do in certain cases, we try to do it because we don’t want to keep players if there’s something that is better for all parties.”

Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio continued to preach the importance of landing a new creative midfielder over the weekend after missing out on England international Tom Huddlestone to Hull City earlier this month.

Di Canio moved Craig Gardner into the engine room alongside Seb Larsson in Saturday’s draw at Southampton after surprisingly opting to relegate summer signing Cabral to the bench.

But after the Black Cats conceded from a set-piece for the second successive game, Di Canio stressed that he wants his chosen midfielder to offer a physical presence.

While Ki is not a comparable specimen to Huddlestone, the South Korean international still stands above 6ft.

Di Canio said: “I hope I get the central midfielder I want because I think that is best for everyone.

“We need something more in the middle of the field against Southampton with physical presence and energy.

“We need it because we can use that person to mark other tall opponents like Stoke City and Crystal Palace and so on.

“I asked for a central midfielder with physical presence and there’s a reason for that.

“I had the same issue at Swindon where we lacked physical presence. We have two centre-halves and a striker who can be physical presence but other teams have more.”