Jan Kirchhoff will leave Sunderland when his contract expires at the end of this month – but he could yet stay in the Premier League.
At least two Premier League clubs have expressed an interest in the 26-year-old, who has also has a number of offers from the Bundesliga.
But Sunderland’s chaotic close season has scuppered any hopes they – or Kirchhoff – may have had of staying on Wearside.
Kirchhoff signed for the Black Cats in January 2016 and went on to play a crucial role in the great escape that followed under Sam Allardyce. He recovered from a nightmare debut at Tottenham Hotspur to become an inspirational and hugely popular figure in the defensive midfield anchor role.
Injuries made for a frustrating campaign this time around as the end of his contract neared.
He last played for the Black Cats in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea last December, with his comeback prevented by another injury picked up in an U23s clash with Manchester United.
David Moyes was not minded to offer the German a new deal as he spoke publicly of building what he deemed to be a more ‘robust’ squad.
And sources close to the player say there has been no change since then, with the uncertainty over the managerial and ownership situation at Sunderland meaning Kirchhoff is now exploring other options.
Having recovered from a knee injury he is training again ahead of the new season.
Kirchhoff was one of a number of players out of contract not to be included in the club’s retained list ahead of the 2017/18 season.
Joleon Lescott and Steven Pienaar are certain to leave, with the latter expected to return to South Africa.
George Honeyman signed a new two-year deal after impressing in the a number of first team appearances towards the end of the season, while John O’Shea and Seb Larsson are understood to be mulling over an offer of a new deal.
The lack of a new manager has added to the uncertainty surrounding the club and the pair have other offers.
A number of Championship teams are interest in both while Larsson has offers from Turkey and interest from Premier League newcomers Brighton.