Chelsea midfielder Marco van Ginkel admits he is living an uncertain existence over his future, with Sunderland among several clubs vying to sign him on loan.
Sunderland’s eagerness to boost their options out wide have been evident over recent days, as the Black Cats pursue leading targets Stewart Downing and Jeremain Lens.
Of course it’s strange that I do not know where I will playMarco van Ginkel
There was speculation last night that Sunderland had made an improved offer for Dutch international Lens, who could leave Dynamo Kiev this summer.
Yet head coach Dick Advocaat is also keen to strengthen his hand in central midfield.
Holland international van Ginkel is an option on a loan deal, with his opportunities at Chelsea likely to remain limited after spending last season with AC Milan where he made just 17 appearances during an injury-hit spell.
But Sunderland are not the only club tracking van Ginkel, with his agent confirming there are a “lot of options” for the 22-year-old, who has also been linked with Newcastle.
Van Ginkel returned to pre-season training with Chelsea at the start of the week and while he doesn’t expect a second stint at Milan, he is unsure what the future holds for him this summer.
“Of course it’s strange that I do not know where I will play (at the end of) next month,” he told the Dutch press. “But that’s part of football. Nothing is certain at this time.”
Van Ginkel is not the only Dutch international central midfielder Sunderland have been tracking, with the Black Cats also keeping tabs on Feyenoord’s Jordy Clasie, although they are NOT interested in Newcastle target Georginio Wijnaldum.
However, Southampton remain in pole position to sign Clasie, with Saints boss Ronald Koeman reiterating again this week that the 24-year-old is an option if Morgan Schneiderlin leaves St Mary’s this summer.
Advocaat’s return to the Stadium of Light has seen Sunderland focus on the Dutch market though, plus players who have previously featured under his stewardship.
Both winger Lens, and Belgian international centre-half Nicolas Lombaerts fall into that category, although the pair have both returned to pre-season training with their respective clubs.
Lombaerts has joined Zenit St Petersburg at their training camp in Austria, while Lens featured for Dynamo Kiev in a friendly last night.
Sunderland are not alone in tracking Lens though.
Reports in Turkey have indicated that Besiktas have now entered into preliminary negotiations with Kiev over Lens and hope to land the 27-year-old, who is on Sunderland’s radar along with Downing.
West Ham winger Downing is understood to be well aware of Sunderland’s interest and is thought to be open to a move to the Stadium of Light if the Hammers accept an offer.
But Downing’s former club Middlesbrough are very much in the running too, with the Championship club hopeful that the emotional pull of a return to the Riverside can see them win the race for the 30-year-old.
Boro also believe they can overcome the significant financial hurdle of agreeing personal terms with Downing, despite his hefty salary at Upton Park.