Jan Kirchhoff has handed Sunderland a major boost by confirming that he does want to extend his stay at the club.
The German only has a year left on his existing deal after signing an 18-month contract when he arrived from Bayern Munich for £750,000 in January.
But Kirchhoff – who starred in the club’s successful battle against the drop – has revealed he is enjoying his time on Wearside and is hopeful a deal can be struck with both parties keen for him to stay.
The midfielder completed his first 90 minutes of pre-season in last night’s 3-2 win over Dijon in France after missing the opening three friendlies with a calf injury.
“I don’t want to talk too much about contract details,” said Kirchhoff, when quizzed about his contract situation.
“But I can imagine staying here at Sunderland, I feel good here and I would like to stay.
“I think we will find a solution.
“There are always two sides – the club would like me to stay and I feel good here.
“It’s a good situation for both of us, and I am sure we will find a solution.”
The 25-year-old missed the wins over Hartlepool United, Rotherham United and Stade Nyonnais with a calf problem.
He returned to training at Sunderland’s Stade Camille-Fournier base earlier this week and his name on the teamsheet was a welcome sight for fans concerned about his fitness.
Kirchhoff – who breezed through last night’s win – was keen to stress his absence was precautionary, with the club’s medical staff keen not to rush him back into action too soon.
“I took a hit on my calf in Austria and had some problems with the muscle and wasn’t able to train and missed the games because of that injury,” said Kirchhoff.
“I started training on Tuesday with the team. I’d missed a couple of weeks, but it is OK now and I don’t have any problems.
“It wasn’t a big injury, it was just the muscle was tight. We will take care of it as we don’t want to rush anything.
“It was good for me to get back into training and into a match like this.
“It was quite heavy to play a straight 90 minutes after two weeks without any training, but that is what I needed to get my legs going again.
“We have two weeks to go and a lot of work to be done.
“The schedule is good, it was well planned and we are in a good position.”