Cash-strapped Sunderland hope summer bidding war will result in financial boost
With the Black Cats plummeting towards League One, the value of Sunderland's playing '˜assets' dwindles by the week.
Lamine Kone was worth upwards of £18million 18 months ago.
No more. Signed for £6million, Sunderland would do well to make their money back having failed to get Kone off the books in the previous two transfer windows due to a lack of interest.
Didier Ndong will be the subject of interest yet Sunderland won’t receive the same level they forked out, £13.6million in instalments.
Ndong is on loan at Watford but hasn’t played a single minute. He’ll be back at Sunderland this summer and has three years left on his deal.
Thankfully, there is one player very much in demand; Wahbi Khazri.
Sam Allardyce bought him to Wearside in January 2016, Khazri playing an important role in the great escape.
Sidelined under David Moyes the following campaign, Khazri was then shipped out on loan to Rennes last August after Sunderland failed to sell him and he has since flourished. He wanted to leave, Sunderland were happy to allow him to leave. But it was only on loan.
The 27-year-old winger has scored 11 goals and provided three assists in 23 appearances.
Sunderland are hoping his performances in Ligue 1, with Rennes fifth, will spark a bidding war and provide a much-needed summer cash boost.
Rennes want to sign him but finances may price them out of a move, with L’Equipe reporting several other teams are monitoring his situation.
Sunderland, if they are relegated to the third tier for only the second time, won’t be in a strong bargaining position, however.
The wider football world is well aware of their perilous financial situation, with debts in excess of £110million according to the last set of published accounts.
Unless Ellis Short finds a buyer and the Black Cats return to a position of financial strength, then the club will be ripe pickings this summer for clubs looking to buy their players.
Not that there will be a long queue of suitors for any of the players from one of - if not the - worst team in the club’s history.
Khazri’s season, though, has panned out very differently and he could be the saving grace for Sunderland when it comes to generating much-needed income from sales.
Depending on what you believe his value ranges anywhere from €5million to €15million but it depends ultimately on what a club is willing to pay.
One key factor in Sunderland’s favour is, while Khazri has enjoyed a strong season domestically, he still has the Russia World Cup to come with Tunisia - who face England in the group stages.
A starring performance in the world’s biggest shop window could yet see Sunderland reap the financial rewards.