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German Suitors Ready To Battle It Out For Ji

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Cash-strapped Augsburg are facing competition to sign Ji Dong-won after an impressive loan spell.

Lennart Preiss

According to reports in Germany, Borussia Mönchengladbach, Stuttgart, and SC Freiburg are ready to battle it out with Augsburg to bring Sunderland forward Ji Dong-won back to the Bundesliga next season.

The Korean made a real impact on loan at the SGL Arena last term, helping Augsburg to a memorable escape from a relegation that seemed almost certain at the turn of the year.

As part of the loan agreement there was an option for Augsburg to make the deal a permanent one for a fee believed to be around €3m. That option has now expired, however, and although Director of Football Stefan Reuter has spoken of his desire to keep the youngster, the cash-strapped Bavaria club haven't been in a position to take advantage.

That has alerted a host of rivals following Ji's fine performances in Germany where he played the majority of his football in a central midfield position, scoring 5 goals in 17 appearances.

Of course, the situation may be muddied by the fact that Sunderland may not be quite as receptive to a sale as they were back in January. Paolo Di Canio is yet to have cast his eye over the player and he would appear to fit in well with the Italian's criteria for young, athletic, versatile players.