Benji Kimpioka snubs offers from three European clubs as he mulls over his Sunderland future
Benji Kimpioka has turned down offers from three clubs as he continues to mull over his Sunderland future – according to agent Martin Klette.
The 20-year-old saw his contract at the Stadium of Light expire at the end of the 2019/20 season and, despite protracted negotiations over a new deal, an agreement has yet to be reached.
Kimpioka has frequently discussed his situation and insists he remains keen on extending his stay on Wearside provided he receives assurances of first-team football.
It was a subject addressed by Phil Parkinson at his weekly press conference, as the Sunderland boss urged Kimpioka to make a quick decision over his future – while claiming the club had made a ‘fair’ offer to the youngster.
"I had a chat with him, his family and his agent, and said one thing you can’t do is waste another season,” he said.
“You need to be back for pre-season and unfortunately he hasn’t been and that’s a shame but it’s important that we have players that are really committed to the club.
“Money is difficult for young players at the moment to give them what they think they should be on. It’s difficult times.
“We’ve got a valuation of where Benji should be, and it’s a very fair one in this current climate. There’s an offer on the table, but at this stage he’s six weeks behind the other lads.”
Klette, however, was quick to launch a rebuttal to Parkinson’s comments in the Swedish press.
Kimpioka’s agent batted the ball back into Sunderland’s court while claiming his client has already turned down offers from three clubs in Sweden’s top flight as he continues to consider his future.
He did, though, admit that talks with CEO Jim Rodwell felt ‘constructive’ and that the door is far from closed on a return to Wearside should the club’s football plans for Kimpioka ‘feel good’.
"We had a telephone meeting last Friday and it is Sunderland who have the ball,” said Klette, speaking to Fotballskanalen.
“That it has taken a long time is mainly due to coach Phil Parkinson.
“We had contact, both he and I, and he, me and Benjamin this summer but after discussing the agreement and Benjamin’s situation at the club for several weeks, he did not return at first and then he announced that contract discussions were not his table but he referred to their CEO. He should have known that from the beginning.
“That Benjamin has remained in Sweden and trained instead of going over to England and been in quarantine due to the corona[virus] rules is Sunderland’s own proposal so it will be a bit strange for Phil Parkinson to say that it is Benjamin who chooses to miss the pre-season.
“The discussion with Jim Rodwell feels constructive,” he continued.
"Benjamin is interested in staying at Sunderland if their football plans for him feel good and he gets a fair deal.
“He has turned down three Allsvenskan clubs while waiting for it to be clear whether he will stay in Sunderland or not.”