Liam Kennedy: Kirchhoff deal must be next on Sunderland’s agenda

Jan Kirchhoff
Jan Kirchhoff
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Any business is good business for Sunderland after their frustrating summer in the transfer market.

And for that reason the decision to tie down Lamine Kone, I use that term loosely, to a five year deal is a top class piece of work by the Black Cats’ board.

But the hard work really does begins here.

And even though it was a long summer window of wrangling with interest, bids, rejections, claims and counter-claims before the club ultimately secured their end goal of keeping Kone at the Stadium of Light, I fear holding on to Jan Kirchhoff might be a more uphill task.

The classy German returned from injury earlier this week in the 3-0 home loss to Everton.

And within minutes of his first start of the season it was easy to see what Sunderland and David Moyes have been missing.

Now Kone is wrapped up for a few months at least, the next thing on Moyes’ and the Sunderland board’s agenda has to be in making sure fit again Kirchhoff remains a Sunderland player beyond the end of next season.

And that might be easier said than done, especially if, as expected, a relegation battle yet again ensues at Sunderland.

While a deal for Kone, who had three and half years left to run, was a positive step, it was nowhere near as pressing as Kirchhoff.

The 25-year-old, who also signed last January, has just nine months left on his deal.

This is a massive concern – the clock is ticking.

While a healthy pay rise was seemingly enough to convince Kone that Sunderland was the place for him, it remains to be seen whether the former Bayern Munich man is cut from the same cloth.

Should Kirchhoff, who was arguably the stand out player for the Black Cats at the end of last season, show consistently what he did in flashes against the Toffees then he will not be short of suitors, especially given the fact he can can leave nothing next year.

The Kone deal set down a marker but Kirchhoff’s signature would be even bigger signal of intent by Moyes and Sunderland.

That deal would go some way to banishing the demons of a summer which was filled with so much transfer gloom.