Alfred N'Diaye will return to Sunderland this week to discuss his future after a season which included two different loan stints away from the club.
According to a report in Spain, Real Betis will not be activating the "affordable" option to make the midfielder's current loan deal permanent following their relegation from La Liga, though he himself is thought to be keen to stay in Spanish football.
Much will decide, however, on Sunderland's intentions and they don't look all that clear right now. Gus Poyet has not worked with N'Diaye yet and would probably like a look at some point this summer, particularly given the rather precarious state of the midfield.
Ki Sung-Yueng has returned to Swansea, Craig Gardner has pretty much already gone, and there is serious doubt regarding whether Jack Colback and Seb Larsson will sign new deals. So in terms of numbers alone, you can make a case for keeping N'Diaye for next season and giving him another chance.
More to the point though, the recently-capped Senegal international is just a good player who can offer the midfield an extra dimension and option. He isn't going to be winning any plaudits for technical brilliance any time soon, but there is plenty to offer there.
The same things, in fact, that made him such a sensible buy in the first place. There is no one else in the squad who is big strong and mobile. It's not what is always needed, but constructing a squad must surely be about equipping yourselves for a variety of requirements? Every toolbox needs a hammer.
Bring Alf home. For the love that is all good and holy, please just bring Alf home!
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