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SAFC TransferWipe: Fiorentina 'Wanted Larsson' & Linked Winger Has No Interest in Sunderland

In this Transfer Update: Sebastian Larsson has continued his assault on claiming he has options beyond the Stadium of Light when his current deal expires by discussing clubs who have been interested in signing him; and Milan playmaker Keisuke Honda - who was linked to Sunderland last week - says he doesn't fancy it.


Fiorentina Were One Of A Number Interested In Sebastian Larsson

According to reports in Sweden, which have made their way to Italy - Serie A club Fiorentina were one of a host of clubs interested in signing Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson in recent transfer windows.

It was in fact Larsson himself who told Swedish media that he has had offers from Italy and Germany plus clubs in Dubai for his services but has, so far, chosen to remain in England.

The 32-year-old, whose contract with Sunderland expires this summer, has appeared in various outlets of late in an apparent show of keeping his options open dependent how this season pans out on Wearside.

Larsson, who has been with Sunderland for five years, has returned to first team action lately following a lengthy lay-off following surgery during the summer. He has featured throughout the festive programme as David Moyes has been forced to shuffle his midfield pack beacuse of a succession of injuries.

After the Swede slammed his team's 'sloppiness' at Old Trafford on Boxing Day - as Manchester United ran out 3-1 winners - it was Sebastian Larsson's own negligence which handed Burnley their fourth and final goal at Turf Moor on Saturday as the Swede clumsily barged into Ashley Barnes to give away a penalty.

Burnley v Sunderland - Premier League
Sebastian Larsson concedes a penalty at Turf Moor
Photo by Stephen White - CameraSport via Getty Images

Larsson will have a part to play in the coming weeks too as injuries, combined with the loss of Didier Ndong to the Africa Cup of Nations, continue to ravage Moyes' midfield options.

Sebastian Larsson patently struggled for Sweden at Euro2016, but once returned from knee surgery he hailed the results as enabling him "to do things with a ball I have been unable to for years". But, thus far the man signed by Steve Bruce in 2011 has failed to make an impact in his return to the first team.

Central midfield is the one area which observers have been pointing to as a major factor for Sunderland's struggles this season and lengthy lay-offs to Jan Kirchhoff, Lee Cattermole and Paddy McNair have not helped - nor has the change of heart by Yann M'Vila to return to the Stadium of Light in January.

With cash tight at Sunderland for the transfer window which has now opened, Sebastian Larsson may well be a reasonably high earner at the club which continually claims it is hovering near its Financial Fair Play wage limit.

The veteran of over 150 appearances in a red-and-white shirt would likely attract little in the way of a transfer fee, but there is likely no player who would not be able to move if the club felt they would gain some benefit from selling them on, so what price Sebastian Larsson making a move away in January? He should, by his own account, have a host of suitors.

Supposed 'Target' Has No Interest In Signing For Sunderland

Sunderland were widely linked with AC Milan's Japanese international, Keisuke Honda, last week. The 30-year-old was reported to be interesting David Moyes by various outlets, including the Newcastle Evening Chronicle.

The veteran of over 80 international caps moved to Italy from CSKA Moscow in 2014, and is exactly the type of player that Sunderland are lacking - a versatile attacking midfielder or a deeper lying play maker - a position which has been vacant at the Stadium of Light for what seems like years.

AC Milan v Atalanta BC - Serie A
Keisuke Honda on the bench for AC Milan, December 2016
Photo by Marco Luzzani/Getty Images

The left-footed sometime winger was even mooted as a direct replacement for Wahbi Khazri - who many are expecting to be on his way from the Stadium of Light - having been frozen out of the first team picture by Moyes.

The fact that Khazri couldn't even get a run-out at Burnley on Saturday - as Sunderland put in one of their worst showings of the season and Moyes watched a blatantly labouring and unfit Steven Pienaar puff his way round the Turf Moor pitch as a half-time replacement for Victor Anichebe - was likely the final nail in the coffin for the Tunisian's Wearside career.

But Keisuke Honda will not be joining Sunderland in his place whether Khazri leaves or not. Italian daily sports newspaper, Corriere dello Sport, have reported that the Japanese star has declared he has no intention of leaving Milan and joining the Black Cats.

It remains likely that the Italian giants will push to move Honda on in the January window as they have a bloated squad which needs trimming. But, his present stance indicates it will not be to Sunderland nor even England.

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