Garry Monk is keen to keep hold of Sunderland target Ki Sung-Yeung – if the Korean agrees.
The former Celtic midfielder enjoyed a hugely impressive season-long loan at the Stadium of Light.
With Monk taking over as Swansea City’s new manager last month, it seemed Gustavo Poyet’s hopes of making the deal permanent were dead in the water.
But in stressing his desire to keep Ki – dangling the carrot of a new contract – Monk offered a chink of light by suggesting it would not be a foregone conclusion.
“I think Ki is a quality player and, as things stand, he will be with us next season,” said Monk.
“Ki can add quality to our squad, he proved that with his performances at Sunderland last season.
“If he is with us next season and he plays and he does well, we will then look at extending his contract.”
Although he missed the final weeks of the season through injury, Ki was a vital part of Sunderland’s midfield, where he provided much-needed creativity.
Poyet was therefore understandably eager to make the deal permanent during the January transfer window.
The circumstances in South Wales were ideal, with then-manager Michael Laudrup clearly not a fan of Ki’s. The trouble was that Sunderland’s precarious Premier League position made it difficult for them to commit to a permanent signing and no deal was forthcoming.
The Wearsiders did make the permanent signing of Ignacio Scocco in January, but it proved a major disappointment. The Argentinian failed to score a goal for his new club, and did not start a Premier League goal for them.
Boca Juniors are thought to be interested in bidding for the 29-year-old, but his agent warned the Black Cats will not take a loss on their £3.2m investment.
“The only way that Scocco could be transferred to Boca is if they pay the same money that Sunderland invested in him, which would be near $5.5m,” his representative Fabian Soldini told Argentinian radio.
“On the other hand, the coach of Sunderland wants Scocco in his team and it is he who makes the decisions at that club. Taking that into account, it would be difficult for him to be transferred to an Argentinian team. But, in football, anything can happen.”
Soldini’s comments seem slightly at odds with the player’s. Scocco recently expressed a preference to rejoin Newell’s Old Boys, where he last played domestic football in Argentina.
Boca this week completed the sale of defensive midfielder Juan Sanchez Mino to Torino for £2.4m. The Buenos Aires club are interested in signing Scocco, who has also been linked with River Plate and San Lorenzo.