No Sunderland talks for Larsson

Seb Larsson (right) with Gus Poyet
Seb Larsson (right) with Gus Poyet
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SUNDERLAND have not held any talks over Seb Larsson’s future since rejecting a January offer from another Premier League club for the Swedish international.

Larsson, who is out-of-contract in the summer, was not even included in the matchday squad for Sunderland’s costly defeat against West Ham on Monday night.

The 28-year-old, linked with German side Borussia Monchengladbach and Serie A outfit Fiorentina, looks increasingly likely to move on to pastures new when his deal expires, particularly if Sunderland are relegated from the Premier League.

His agent, Per Jonsson, says Gus Poyet wanted to keep Larsson at the Stadium of Light for the relegation dogfight when he was appointed Sunderland boss last October and the Black Cats rejected the advances from a top flight rival in the January transfer window.

But since then, there have been no discussions about a new contract for Larsson and although the midfielder would be open to remaining with Sunderland, Jonsson expects the situation to become clearer once the club’s future is settled.

“I met Gus Poyet in December and he wanted to prolong Seb’s stay,” Jonsson told the Echo.

“But at that point, they were adrift, so we agreed that none of the parties want to commit to anything at that stage.

“We wanted to see if they were going to stay in the Premier League. Teams that are relegated obviously need to change their wage structure.

“After that, there have not been any more talks.

“At the end of January, Sunderland rejected an offer from another Premier League team, stating that they wanted to keep Seb.

“In a month’s time, we will know what the situation is. I don’t see any progress until that stage.

“He is open to staying in the Premier League - whether that is Sunderland or someone else.

“It was a Premier League club that made an offer in January and I am sure there will be interest in him.

“As a Bosman, he will obviously have lots of clubs looking at him, particularly with his international record.”

Jonsson says a crucial factor in deciding Larsson’s next step will be whether the former Birmingham City man returns to his natural position on the right-hand side of midfield.

Larsson enjoyed a fruitful campaign in that role during his maiden year on Wearside; netting eight goals - his best tally in a solitary season in his senior career.

But in the subsequent two years, Larsson has enjoyed mixed success after being predominantly used in central midfield.

“The main situation for Seb going forwards is to choose a club - whether that is Sunderland or someone else - that will use him in his natural position,” added Jonsson.

“He has been out of position for the last year and a half.

“In the first season, he did very well and had a very good record in terms of goals and assists.

“But since Adam Johnson’s arrival, he has been moved around. He played in four or five different positions last season and it’s difficult for any player when that happens.

“Now that his contract is up and he can pick his next club, wherever he goes - or if he stays - he needs to go back to playing as a winger. That’s where he has been the most successful.

“He never complains or tries to changes what the coach wants to do, but at the end of the day, you perform best where you feel most natural.

“He is playing central midfield which is not his position.”