GERMAN side Augsburg have revived their interest in Ji Dong-won.
And that will delight Sunderland, who are stand to lose the South Korean striker for next to nothing this summer, when his contract expires.
The misfit £2million forward, signed by Steve Bruce in June 2011 has struggled to make any impact on Wearside, the one notable exception being his New Year’s Day 2012 match-winner against Manchester City.
The ex-Chunnam Dragons attacker has managed just six starts in his two-and-a-half years at the club, scoring two goals, boss Gus Poyet admitting he did not see the 22-year-old being in his plans.
But Ji’s stock is high in Germany following a successful loan spell during when he helped Augsburg escape relegation over the course of 17 games – seven of which were won and three drawn.
The then head Sunderland coach Paolo Di Canio turned down a £5million Borussia Dortmund bid for the striker last summer.
German clubs would prefer to sign Ji when he’s a free agent in the summer but with both Dortmund and Augsburg showing interest in him they will hope to recoup some of the money they spent on him.
Sunderland will hope that a Bundesliga side decides to bid on him now rather than risk losing out on the striker in the close season.
Ji can now talk to clubs on the continent and if several clubs are interested in his signature, Sunderland might just recoup some cash and offer greater latitude in the transfer market to head coach Gus Poyet who has included the striker in his last three squads but admits he is struggling long-term to fit the player into his plans.
The Uruguayan told the Echo: “Ji is a very good player but I need to find the opportunity to say to him: ‘Here you go. Don’t try to think too much about how we’re playing, just go out there and play’.
“But I haven’t known how to play him because that’s what he needs.”