Ki Sung-Yueng has asked to be released from Sunderland early to focus on his world cup fitness at home, according to the player's father.
The on-loan midfielder has been an important figure in the club's bid for Premier League safety this season, but tendinitis in his knee has ruled him for the last couple of weeks and, with his eligibility to play for the club ending after the penultimate game of the season against West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday, he appears to have kicked his last ball this season.
Ki's father told the Korean Herald:
Ki Sung-yueng has asked the team to let him leave early. Gus Poyet will make the final decision after Sunderland's away match against Manchester United on Saturday.
I think Sunderland may feel that it'd be better off for him to focus on a quick recovery (at home) if he can't play in the last match anyway. Sung-yueng will follow whatever decision the team reaches.
If his injury won't allow him to play, then there seems little point in keeping him around really. Doing him a favour and treating him with some trust may be the best strategy here if Poyet harbours hopes of signing him on a permanent basis this summer.
Ki has blown hot and cold this season, but he has been a superb signing and one I'd welcome back. When he is good, he is very good, and when he isn't good he is no worse than anyone else in our midfield.
If he can't kick another ball for us, then thank you Ki. It has been a pleasure watching you.