Sunderland defender admits he is open to permanent exit in the summer

Seb Coates in action for Sunderland earlier this season
Seb Coates in action for Sunderland earlier this season

On-loan Sunderland defender Sebastian Coates is winning rave reviews at Portguese giants Sporting Lisbon.

And the 25-year-old centre-back admits he is open to a permanent move in the summer after starring since joining on loan in January.

Several reports in Portugal have hailed the Uruguayan as one of the signing of the season and he has revealed he is keen to extend his stay beyond this summer.

Title-chasing Lisbon have an option to sign Coates on a permanent deal, for a fee understood to be in the region of £4million, once his initial loan has been complete.

Coates was initially reluctant to commit to a longer stay but when pressed, Coates revealed to Portugese journalists that he would be open to move as his family have settled quickly to life in Portugal.

Lisbon are second in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, two points behind league leaders Benfica.

"It's premature to talk about that [my future], when we are still to win something so important," said Coates.

"What I can say is that I'm very happy here.

"I found a club that has the ambition to win the championship, to qualify for the Champions League.

"Personally I am very happy, we'll see."

When pressed on if he had to make a decision to stay, Coates added: "I'd say yes, of course!

"For everything. Besides, my family is already adapted to Lisbon.

"However, while we are in competition with things to decide, I'd rather not talk about these issues."

Coates, who joined Sunderland from Liverpool last summer, is one of the more experienced defenders in the Lisbon squad and he is relishing the added responsibility.

"When I arrived at Liverpool, my goal was to learn," said Coates.

"I knew I'd have a year when I wouldn't play much, but in which I could grow.

"Now it's different. Today it is up to me to teach young players, help them grow.

"Give them my experiences, things that I lived on and off the pitch."

Coates arrived at the Stadium of Light in 2014, on an initial loan deal from Liverpool, before making the switch to Wearside permanent last summer.

The centre back has played 32 times for the Black Cats since his arrival in September 2014.

Boss Sam Allardyce allowed him to leave on loan in January, with £5million centre-back Lamine Kone added to the squad from Lorient.

Kone has proved to be a shrewd signing, adding steel and an added physical presence to the Sunderland backline as they battle the drop to the Championship.