Sunderland transfer news: Arbenit Xhemajli’s situation explained as two other players are made available for loan moves

Sunderland are still looking to send defender Arbenit Xhemajli out on loan this month – while some of the club’s under-23s players could also depart before Monday’s deadline.

Xhemajli, 23, spent more than a year on the sidelines with a major knee injury but has slowly returned to action in recent months.

The centre-back has made one senior appearance for Sunderland in the Papa John’s Trophy this campaign, as well as a handful of appearances for the under-23 team.

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Xhemajli has played back-to-back games against Middlesbrough and Wolves in Premier League 2, Division 2, over the last two weeks, with the Kosovo international making a positive impression.

Sunderland defender Arbenit Xhemajli. Picture by FRANK REID

When asked about Xhemajli following Monday’s 2-1 defeat by Wolves, under-23s coach Mike Dodds told the Echo: “Obviously he’s been training with the first team every day but then he comes in and has dropped into the under-23s for the last two or three games.

“One thing I will say about Arby is that his attitude and application is first class.

“It’s great for us as coaches because he role models what the standard looks like in terms of preparation, at half-time he’s talking to the group about tweaks and changes in the games.

“He’s been a real pleasure to work with but if Arby’s being completely honest and I’m being completely honest he doesn’t really want to be playing under-23s football.

“I’m sure there will be some suitors out there who are looking to take him and that will probably be the best for him if I’m honest.

“You can see tonight I thought he looked a little bit sharper and his passing was a little bit crisper so you can see he’s starting to get that match fitness.

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“I think a loan would be a logical option for all parties.”

Sunderland have been keen to send their younger players out on loan to experience more first-team football.

Striker Will Harris and midfielder Stephen Wearne have already signed for Barrow and Torquay respectively this month, while 22-year-old defender Oliver Younger was allowed to join Doncaster on a permanent transfer.

That has lowered the age of Sunderland’s under-23 side, with several teenagers from the scholars programme making the step up this season.

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Striker Benji Kimpioka, 21, and wideman Tyrese Dyce, 20, also played against Wolves but could be allowed to leave on loan too.

When asked if the pair could depart this month, Dodds replied: “Yeah the older players in the group. That is going to make us young and make us a little bit light but the young players have shown they can compete.

“I think short-term pain for long-term gain, I keep saying for those young players it’s going to be tough for them but those older players we have to see whether they can go and play senior football and whether they can cope.

“Tyrese and Benji, they definitely need to try and get out and try to find themselves some kind of senior football.”

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Sunderland’s under-23 side will now prepare for a home game against Nottingham Forest on Monday, January 31.

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