Sunderland face a multi-million pound pay-out in add-ons for January signing Wahbi Khazri, if they secure their place in next season’s Premier League, writes Chris Young.
But the Tunisian international’s contribution towards Sunderland’s victory over Chelsea on Saturday may make that extra fee a pittance compared to the £100million windfall of staying in the Premier League, with the Black Cats now on the verge of top-flight survival.
Sources in France have indicated that Sunderland will have to pay out around £3m if they stay up, as part of the deal which brought Khazri from Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux in January.
However, Khazri proved value-for-money against Chelsea after a stunning first half volley broke Sunderland’s two-month goal drought, before helping the Black Cats to a stirring comeback which has lifted them out of the drop zone.
Khazri reflected on a “perfect day” with both Newcastle and Norwich failing to win, but stresses that the job is only half done with Sunderland requiring victory against Everton on Wednesday night to rubber-stamp their place in the top flight.
He said: “It was the perfect day with Newcastle drawing 0-0 at Aston Villa and us winning.
“We played a good game against a quality team like Chelsea and the win in the end was exceptional.
“Now we know if we win on Wednesday, then we’ll stay in the Premier League.
“Chelsea have got very good players, but we were very happy with how we played and how we kept our composure.
“We need to play the same match against Everton on Wednesday.
“We’ve got a strong mentality because conceding just before half-time (to go 2-1 down) was very hard.
“But we had the belief to keep going and get it back to 2-2 and then 3-2.
“We know that two points will be enough for us to stay up now, but it would be perfect if we can get three points on Wednesday.
“It would be fantastic if we can get it done before the final day (Sunderland visit Watford on Sunday). It’s always hard if it goes down to then.
“The fans were unbelievable on Saturday, but they’ve been great all season for us.
“We need them to be the same on Wednesday.”
Khazri’s strike was his second in Sunderland colours, yet this one was a contender for goal of the season after a scorching angled volley from 20 yards out.
“Yes, I’m happy with the goal!” added the smiling 25-year-old.
“Hopefully I can keep scoring, maybe again on Wednesday.
“I just saw the ball in the air heading towards me and I thought I’d have a go and I was happy with the result.
“I haven’t scored a lot of goals like that!”