AHMED Elmohamady is seeking talks with Martin O’Neill over his Sunderland future.
The Egyptian returned to the Academy of Light yesterday after being given extended summer leave, along with five other team-mates away on international duty over the close season.
And one of his first tasks this week will be discover whether or not he is going to be part of the manager’s plans for next season.
Despite suggestions that Sunderland are looking to sell the player in the current transfer window, Elmohamady has heard nothing from the club to suggest they are.
And the 24-year-old has never asked to leave.
A source close to the player told the Echo: “He wants to sort his future out as soon as gets back because although there have been stories the club is prepared to let him leave, he hasn’t been told that.
“If he’s still a Sunderland player next season then he’ll be more than happy.
“I think he worries Sunderland fans will think he wants to be away but nothing could be further from the truth.
“He has never submitted a transfer request, although he is desperate to play first-team football.”
Elmohamady, who plays at right-back for his country but has been used mainly on the right-wing at Sunderland, joined the club two years ago this month.
He arrived initially on a £500,000 season-long loan from Egyptian side ENPPI, which Steve Bruce converted into a £2m deal last summer.
Elmohamady’s first season was a qualified success, his pace and directness causing many sides problems, even if his crossing was erratic and he lacked consistency, especially away from home.
Last season though was a struggle from him, the erratic crossing and inconsistency continued as Sunderland made a sticky start to the season.
By the time O’Neill arrived in December, the African had become a peripheral figure and he was involved only seven league games under the new manager.
But even those seven games saw him used generally as a late substitute and his entire playing time less than 90 minutes in those matches.
Elmohamady will not want a season like that again and will seek assurances from the manager that he has a first-team squad role to play at Sunderland.
If he has, then he will be happy to stay.
But if the Sunderland manager says he can find no place for him at the Stadium of Light, he would prefer to move on rather than sit on the sidelines collecting his wages.
West Ham and Hull City have both shown an interest in signing him should he be allowed to leave.