Sunderland winger lifts lid on his future, staying in England and links to Marseille

Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri
Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri
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Sunderland winger Wahbi Khazri admits he doesn't expect to stay on Wearside this summer following relegation to the Championship.

The 26-year-old barely featured under former boss David Moyes, with the former Bordeaux wideman making 21 appearances last season with 14 of those from the bench.

With Sunderland set to cash in on some of their biggest assets this summer as they look to soften the financial blow of relegation to the second tier, Khazri is among those set to leave.

Striker Jermain Defoe is on the verge of completing a move to Bournemouth as a free agent, while there will also be strong interest in Jordan Pickford, Lamine Kone and Fabio Borini.

Khazri was a key player under Sam Allardyce in the 2015-16 great escape campaign having arrived in January 2016 from Bordeaux but fell out of favour when Moyes took charge last summer.

The Scot resigned on Monday in the wake of the club's relegation to the second tier for the first time in a decade but Khazri's future still seemingly lies away from Wearside.

Speaking to the French media, Khazri admitted he didn't see himself staying at the club.

Khazri told L'Equipe: "After six very good first months, Sunderland changed coach and I have not played much. Before he left, Moyes clearly told me I could leave.

"I do not see myself staying, I do not want to play in the Championship.

"I have three years left, and my transfer would make everyone happy."

Khazri, who has not yet had any contact from top flight French clubs over a return to France, admitted the 2016-17 campaign had been challenging given his lack of game time.

He added: "I was also not used to it. On the other hand, it hardened me.

"Having played little for a year allows me to be physically and mentally well.

"It's just football, and when you see what's going on in the world right now, I think there are more serious things in life."

When pressed on whether he would be willing to return to France, Khazri added: "Do they want me? I think I left a good image. But for now, I have had no contact from Ligue 1.

"I do not close any doors, but I love England, its atmosphere, its full stadiums, its beautiful lawns and its mentality - it is different from ours."

Khazri says he is "hungry" for regular football and Marseille are among the clubs to have been linked with a move but he insists nothing is in the pipeline.

On Marseille, he added: "It's a great club, with a great stadium and great supporters.

"I would have the right and duty to listen to the OM proposal, as I had done for Bordeaux. But it's not in the pipes today.

"I have to be patient, but I'm hungry for football."