Sunderland will have Ki Sung-Yueng for the rest of this season, but coach Gustavo Poyet is hoping to make the midfielder’s signing permanent this month.
The Black Cats want to sign centre-back Santiago Vergini this week and will be encouraged by Ignacio Scocco’s determination to leave Internacional. They are also hoping to persuade Brighton and Hove Albion to part with Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley. But Poyet is also keen to secure a player they already have.
Signed on loan from Swansea City, Ki has been the best of director of football Roberto de Fanti’s 14 summer signings and after his shot put Sunderland 2-0 up at Fulham on Saturday – Philippe Senderos knocked the goalbound effort over his own goalkeeper – the Korean made a point of gesturing to the floor, seeming to suggest he was staying here. With the Swans turning down the option of recalling the former Celtic midfielder this month, that is certainly true until the end of the campaign.
“I am hoping there will be a chance for us to do something this month,” Poyet commented. “They had an opportunity to recall him, but that is
finished now, so hopefully that has strengthened our hand.
“It was a difficult day for me at the start of the week because I was waiting all day to hear what Swansea’s response would be. There are a couple of things that still need to be ironed out – we have to make sure of where we are and where we want to go, and the player has to have an input into that too. But it’s easy to see that he’s enjoying his football and making a difference.
“The fact that Swansea didn’t recall him hopefully gives us a chance to do something. It is very important that he is happy.
“It meant so much for him to score – he ran all the way across the pitch to celebrate – and that shows how much he cares.
“I think he is enjoying his new position a little bit further up the pitch, and when he plays there, he can make us play. I want players with that mentality, and I think he has been the most consistent player in terms of my way of playing. But when we have John O’Shea and Wes Brown at the back, we’re much more solid.
“And if you’ve got Adam Johnson playing like Saturday (when he scored a hat-trick), you have the basics to have a very good end to the season.”
Signing Ki permanently now will be a gamble because although Saturday’s Johnson-inspired 4-1 win at Fulham lifted them off the bottom of the Premier League, relegation remains a real danger. Doing so unconditionally would, however, allow further loans.
Poyet asked not to be kept informed on 23-year-old Vergini in the build-up to the Craven Cottage game, but now wants to push through a deal. “Hopefully things will move forward this week,” said the Uruguayan.
There is confusion over whether Sunderland have agreed a £600,000 fee for the defender.
Director of football Eduardo Lacher has confirmed £3.5m-rated Scocco wants to leave Internacional, with his agent Fabian Soldini confirming Sunderland and Valencia’s interest – the player’s father, Hector, says he is most likely to join the Black Cats.
“Scocco is a great player but he does not want to play in Brazil,” said Lacher. “He talked with (manager) Abel Braga, and said he no longer wants to play for Inter and is no longer motivated to play for Inter. We will try to find a way out for him.”