ALFRED N’DIAYE is absent from Sunderland’s pre-season trip to Hong Kong after becoming a father over the weekend.
N’Diaye’s partner gave birth on Saturday and the Black Cats midfielder has been given permission by Paolo Di Canio to remain at home, rather than play a part in Sunderland’s challenge in the Barclays Asia Trophy.
But while personal factors have excused N’Diaye from the jaunt to the Far East, the Frenchman continues to be the subject of intense speculation over his future at Sunderland.
As the Echo revealed last week, there has been a serious offer from Turkey for N’Diaye, just six months after he left the country to join Sunderland.
That bid looks to have come from Eskiehirspor, with vice-president Mehmet Akman admitting that the talks with Sunderland over N’Diaye’s transfer are at an advanced stage and he is confident of finalising a deal for the 23-year-old.
“We have started negotiations with N’Diaye and currently, talks are progressing in a smooth way,” said Akman.
“We believe that this transfer will take place.”
Besiktas are also interested in N’Diaye, who was brought to the Premier League by Martin O’Neill from Turkish side Bursaspor in a £3.7million January deal.
But Eskiehirspor, where N’Diaye’s former manager at Bursaspor – Ertugrul Saglam – is in charge, are favourites to land the powerful midfielder, who started 15 out of 17 Premier League games following his arrival on Wearside.
A loan deal, with a view to a permanent transfer, is the likely scenario for N’Diaye’s exit, with Sunderland recouping a potential fee of around £5m.
Sunderland were linked with a possible replacement yesterday, in Inter Milan’s Serbian midfielder Zdravko Kuzmanovic, with Aston Villa also credited with an interest in the 26-year-old.
The Wearsiders have been linked to a succession of Inter players this summer after the appointment of chief scout Valentin Angeloni from the San Siro, but there was a suggestion yesterday in Italy that Kuzmanovic wanted to remain with the Serie A giants.
Meanwhile, Greek side Panathinaikos still expect winger Charis Mavrias’ move to the Stadium of Light to go through as planned.
Sunderland agreed a £2.5million fee for the Greek international earlier this month, but the transfer has now dragged on for several weeks.
As the Echo reported over the weekend, that has prompted doubts over whether the deal will now collapse, with Sunderland already boosting their options out wide with the captures of David Moberg Karlsson and Emanuele Giaccherini.
But Panathinaikos claim they haven’t been informed of any problems with the transfer and believe Sunderland have been responsible for the delay by failing to complete a medical for the 19-year-old. Panathinaikos insist they expect Mavrias to travel to Wearside to undergo a medical this week.