Defender Bryan Oviedo says he is committed to Sunderland until the end of the season – but admits he will have to weigh up his future in the summer.
The Costa Rican international says he’s ‘happy’ on Wearside despite the club’s perilous position at the bottom of the Championship.
But he says it would be ‘very difficult’ for him to play in League One should the Black Cats fail to beat the drop.
Oviedo is heading to the World Cup in the summer and knows that if he has a good tournament in Russia, it will boost his options of a potential move ahead of next season.
He said: “I have spoken with my representative and, well, I know how difficult it is to leave in January.
“I want to stay in Sunderland at the moment to get out of the situation we are in.
“I am very happy in this team and I can continue here without problem.
“I have a contract here, but I also know that if I go to the World Cup, then a good performance there can help improve opportunities.
“Now my goal is to have a rhythm to get a good level.”
Oviedo joined Sunderland 12 months ago in a £7.5million double move from Everton alongside midfielder Darron Gibson, but was unable to help them avoid dropping out of the Premier League.
Now, with the club in the bottom three and staring a successive relegation in the face, the 27-year-old says he doesn’t want to play in the third tier of English football.
“We have played well, but we have lacked consistency,” Oviedo added. “I think we have a very good team, with good players.
“I do not plan to go down, playing in the third division would be very difficult for me.
“I have many years of not being in Championship and it is not an option to go to League One.
“We have to see how we correct the situation to see how we change the moment we are in.”