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Former Sunderland defender Jan Kirchhoff could finally be on the verge of joining a new club

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Without a club since his release from Sunderland in June, Jan Kirchhoff could be about to sign a deal in the Bundesliga.

Sunderland v Crystal Palace - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images

Former Sunderland defender, and sometime midfielder, Jan Kirchhoff could finally be on the verge of joining a new club after being released from the Stadium of Light at the end of last season.

Reports in Germany claim the 27-year-old is an option for Hannover 96 as the Bundesliga side consider a swoop for a free agent as cover for injured Brazilian defender Felipe Martins.

Felipe Martins of Hannover 96
Image: Joachim Sielski/Bongarts

Martins has been ruled out of action until the new year after suffering a ruptured tendon three weeks ago in a goalless draw with Hamburger SV. An MRI scan this week has shown the damage to be severe.

Hannover have made a good start to the German season and are fifth in the Bundesliga after seven games following their promotion last term. The club were most recently in the news over here following trouble caused by their ultra faction at Burnley in pre-season.

Burnley v Hannover 96 - Pre-Season Friendly
Hannover fans ripping seats at Turf Moor in August
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Kirchhoff has been without a club since he left England at the end of June. During the summer he trained at a facility organised by German football agency Rogon for players on its books without a contract.

The defender, who was often used as a holding midfielder whilst at the Stadium of Light, was not offered a new deal at Sunderland after a frustrating campaign marred by lengthy injury lay-offs.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
A regular sight - Kirchhoff gets treatment during a game in 2016
Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

The 6ft 3in player was linked with the likes of Eintracht Frankfurt during the course of the summer along with a smattering of Premier League clubs. There were also supposed sightings of him at the Academy of Light last month which sparked rumours he could return to Sunderland. The gossip was untrue of course.

Signed for £750,000 from Bayern Munich in January 2016, Kirchhoff was an instant hit on Wearside with his classy displays in Sam Allardyce’s survival squad.

But the 26-year-old only featured 7 times in the Premier League last season with repeated hamstring injuries before being ruled out from December onwards with damaged knee cartilage.

Not since the 2012-13 season has Kirchhoff managed in excess of 20 games in a campaign, and he has averaged less than ten matches a term since then as injury lay-offs have become increasingly frequent and more severe.

Those German reports suggesting Kirchhoff is set for Hannover originated in daily newspaper Bild though the former Sunderland man appears to have been just one option under consideration.

Either way, fresh transfer links at least suggest the player who is still fondly remembered on Wearside is now back to fitness and looking to resurrect his career at last.