ALFRED N’Diaye could be set for a return to Turkey after barely six months on Wearside.
The Gazette understands there has been a serious offer for the French midfielder and Sunderland are mulling over the proposal.
Whether the interested side is Bursaspor – the club he arrived from at the start of the year – and whether the move is a loan or permanent, remains to be seen.
But Sunderland are expected to make their minds up imminently on the Turkish approach and whether the former French Under-21 international stays or goes.
Sunderland head coach Paolo Di Canio is set to take a 24-man Sunderland squad to Hong Kong this weekend and N’Diaye is named among the travelling party.
But a firm offer is already on the table for the enforcer, and Sunderland are willing to listen to bids for most of their players.
If N’Diaye is on the plane to the Barclays Asia Trophy this weekend, then the likeliEXChood is he will be staying on Wearside.
The deal moving him on could still be done before the August 31 deadline of course, but the offer is very straightforward as it stands and if Sunderland are genuinely interested then there is no reason to delay.
That would mean N’Diaye staying behind this weekend and looking to progress the deal in much the same way as Danny Graham was allowed to return home from the Black Cats’ Italian training camp to formalise a loan move to Hull City.
If N’Diaye does leave, it will bring to a close probably the most inglorious transfer window in Sunderland’s history.
Martin O’Neill made three signings in the window in January this year – Danny Graham, Alfred N’Diaye and Kader Mangane.
Graham cost £5m and failed to score a single goal in his 13 Premier League games, N’Diaye was £3.8m and after a good debut he struggled, though he did improve under Di Canio.
And Mangane failed to feature during a single minute under O’Neill and was used barely at all by Di Canio.
That window was the key to O’Neill’s departure, with owner Ellis Short having not wanted to spend at all in January but reluctantly sanctioning outlay of more than £10m because he feared relegation was a realistic possibility.
Having signed the cheques, Short then saw his team fail to improve in the months that followed.
None of the three new signings – all on big wages - made any real impact. If anything, the team’s performances got worse, a situation which ended in O’Neill’s dismissal and the installation of Di Canio as head coach.
Should N’Diaye depart, it will be a surprise to most fans.
Although the midfielder is far from the finished product, he showed some promise under Di Canio.
Tall, powerful and athletic and with the potential to improve, he fits the template of the sort of player Sunderland have their sights set on.
It would be no surprise if N’Diaye was to play a significant role for the club next season.
But the strong and genuine Turkish interest, coupled with the fact Sunderland are seriously considering it, suggests he could become another victim of Paolo Di Canio’s decision to massively overhaul the squad he inherited.