Manager dismisses Khazri as 'unprofessional' as Sunderland player apparantly refuses to travel with squad
Sunderland midfielder Wahbi Khazri is on his way 'home' after Tunisia were eliminated from the Cup of Nations. But his African adventure appears to have ended in a right old mess.
Reports from France and beyond claim Khazri refused to travel with the rest of his teammates as the Tunisian camp departed Gabon, following a bust-up with coach Henryk Kasperczak.
Khazri was substituted in the 63rd minute as his nation were beaten by Burkino Faso last night, and the Sunderland player refused to acknowledge his Polish coach as he made his way off the pitch.
La sortie de Wahbi Khazri . #BFATUN #CAN2017 #Tunisie pic.twitter.com/LAYVgwqvJq— Tunisie Football (@tunisiefootball) January 28, 2017
After the game, Kasperczak described Khazri's actions as 'far from professional' and reports later suggested that the Sunderland midfielder flew from Libreville, the capital of Gabon, to Paris alone.
It's not the first time Khazri has attracted unpleasant headlines recently whilst on international duty. In November he was sent off after punching an opponent in the face during a match against Mauritania.
The 25-year-old has struggled to find any form under David Moyes and has found his appearances severely restricted this season after a promising first campaign following his January 2016 arrival from Bordeaux.
Khazri had enjoyed a decent African Cup of Nations up until last night with some man-of-the-match performances. But, it's been hard to accurately judge how well he has been playing due to the clearly poorer opposition he has faced in Gabon compared with the English Premier League.
Many had anticipated that he would leave the Stadium of Light in this transfer window. But, barring the possibility of a last-minute swoop there has been precious little gossip surrounding his future bar a link to Turkey some weeks ago.
Is the treble-swoop on?
As at Sunday evening, three names are on the tips of Sunderland transfer gossip tongues. Swansea winger, Modou Barrow; Leicester striker, Leonardo Ulloa; and Everton full-back, Bryan Oviedo.
With a little over 48-hours-left in the transfer window, is David Moyes preparing himself for a Monday treble-swoop?
Modou Barrow has been linked with Newcastle, Leeds and Aston Villa in recent days with the Magpies appearing to cool their interest as Swansea City insisted they would only listen to cash offers for the 24-year-old. Rafa Benitez is thought to have enquired about taking the Gambian international on loan.
The Daily Star are the latest outlet to claim Sunderland are now favourites to land the winger.
Barrow played 77 minutes in December against us when Swansea romped home by three clear goals. He was industrious and caused a dismal Sunderland defence some problems though his decision-making was at times lacking.
Right-footed, Barrow can be a bit Watmore-ish in his end product, but he's still improving in what has been a poor Swansea team this season. His signing would immediately raise questions over the future of Fabio Borini who hasn't looked interested in playing in a Sunderland shirt in recent weeks.
Leonardo Ulloa has been linked with Sunderland since last summer when David Moyes was strongly rumoured to have the Argentinian striker on his initial hit list when he landed at the Stadium of Light.
The 30-year-old has likely burnt a few of his bridges at Leicester after his agent appeared to brand Claudio Ranieri a "liar" and claimed the Foxes' boss had broken a number of promises relating to his client. The Italian title-winning manager is thought to have accepted the player's explanation that none of the comments directly came from him however.
Last night Ulloa appeared to bid the King Power goodbye, with a farewell message on his twitter account.
Thanks to all the fans at LCFC. Two wonderful years but I need to feel like a footballer again.— Jose Leonardo Ulloa (@Ciclone1923) January 28, 2017
Reports claim Sunderland will have to offer anything from £5m to £11m for the striker's services.
A figure somewhere in the middle will probably be about 'right' but Sky Sports have this evening suggested an initial bid of £3m has been rejected by Leicester with the Foxes minded to turn down an increased offer of £5m too.
Bryan Oviedo was initially linked with Sunderland roughly a week ago but Everton appeared to quash reports of a reunion with David Moyes when Ronald Koeman suggested the Costa-Rican left-back was not for sale.
The player himself had appeared to strongly suggest that he wishes to leave Goodison Park, though he appeared to distance himself from those comments in recent days. Oviedo has never been able to establish himself as anything more than a deputy to Leighton Baines during his four-and-a-half years on Merseyside.
Reports this evening claim Moyes' persistence is about to pay off and that the 26-year-old is now 'likely' to join Sunderland in the next day or so.
Meanwhile, other mutterings today continue to suggest that Bordeaux left-back Diego Contento is still on Moyes' radar whilst Swansea's Neil Taylor appears to have declined the prospect of a move to the Stadium of Light.