BUNDESLIGA outfit Augsburg will have to pay around £2.5million if they want to land Sunderland striker Ji Dong-won on a permanent deal.
The South Korean hitman has proved a pivotal figure for the Bavarian outfit since moving to Germany on loan in the January transfer window.
Despite being used in central midfield or out wide, Ji netted five goals in 17 appearances, including the third in Saturday’s 3-1 final day victory over Greuther Furth, which clinched Augsburg’s survival in the top flight.
A clause was inserted into the loan deal to make it permanent when Ji (right) first joined Augsburg, but the cash-strapped club will have to shell out £2.5m to activate it.
That will reimburse the figure of around £2m Sunderland paid to bring Ji to the Stadium of Light two years ago.
Although Augsburg officials are keeping their counsel on their hopes of keeping Ji, it was always thought they would make a move for the 21-year-old if they avoided relegation and that remains the likeliest scenario.
It was Martin O’Neill who sanctioned Ji’s loan exit, rather than Paolo Di Canio, after the former Chunnam Dragons frontman failed to make a first-team appearance for Sunderland this season.
But Di Canio is keen to land a new frontman after seeing Sunderland struggle in the absence of Steven Fletcher.
The Italian was frustrated with the performances of Danny Graham and Connor Wickham in Sunday’s final day defeat at Spurs and has publicly confirmed he wants to have five strikers at his disposal next season.
By allowing Ji to depart, it would release funds for fresh faces and free up space on the wage bill, with Sunderland mindful of the regulations of both Football Fair Play and the Premier League’s own restrictions on the use of the income from the new television deal.
H Sheffield United have made an approach to Motherwell for permission to hold talks with Stuart McCall over their managerial vacancy.
The Fir Park boss was linked with the job following the departure of Danny Wilson and the League One side have now formally made their interest known to the Lanarkshire club.
McCall has had spells as a player and assistant manager at Bramall Lane.
H Borussia Dortmund’s attacking midfielder Mario Gotze has reportedly suffered another setback in his bid to be fit to face his future club Bayern Munich in the final of the Champions League on Saturday.
Gotze, who has scored 19 goals this season, tore his hamstring during the second leg of the semi-final against Real Madrid and is still rated doubtful for Saturday’s showpiece.
He started light training just over a week ago and appeared to take a step up yesterday when he followed an individual training session in the morning by joining his team-mates in the afternoon.
But Bild reported that Gotze had been forced to pull out of that second session when he felt the problem again.