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Sunderland 'to be offered' attacking midfielder in swap deal & Khazri suffers fresh blow

In this morning's talking points; Sunderland are being linked with a young attacking midfielder who may hold the key to a deal for Jeremain Lens; and Wahbi Khazri faces an uncertain international future, but back 'home' the debate over his continued exclusion from the side is the first hint of public antagonism towards David Moyes at the Stadium of Light.

Everton v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

Youngster as part of deal to re-loan Lens

According to a report in one of Turkey's biggest sports outlets, Fenerbahçe will attempt to twist Sunderland's arm into re-loaning them Jeremain Lens for another season in return for sending a 23-year-old attacking midfielder to the Stadium of Light.

The report claims that Sunderland originally wanted to swap Lens with Salih Uçan at the start of this season but the player rejected the move, preferring to establish himself in Istanbul after a two year loan stint at AS Roma.

The suggestion is that Fenerbahçe are now ready to offer the player to Sunderland again as part of negotiations over Lens' future.

AS Roma v AC Spezia - TIM Cup
Uçan during his spell on loan at AS Roma in December 2015
Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

Uçan is a two-footed attacking midfielder, exactly what Sunderland will need to sign in the summer - regardless of which division the club finds itself in.

With Fenerbahçe thought to be in a difficult financial position and potentially unable to find the 8-million-euros Sunderland will ask to make Lens' move a permanent one, the club managed by Dick Advocaat will offer the Turkish international as a sweetener to arrange another season's loan.

Lens is under contract at the Stadium of Light until 2019 and this summer likely presents the final opportunity for Sunderland to maximise any transfer fee he would attract. The Dutchman turns 30 later this year and is thought to have other suitors, from within Turkey and the rest of Europe, who would be interested in buying him in the summer.

Netherlands Training & Press Conference - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
Jeremain Lens will be part of the Netherlands squad next weekend.
Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

That said, if Sunderland are relegated - an increasingly likely prospect - any buyer will be able to lure Lens for a knock-down price due to a rumoured clause in his contract which allows him to leave for a reduced fee in the event the Black Cats go down this season.

And with the player himself recently adamant he has no interest in playing for anyone other than Fenerbahçe, another loan might not be too shabby an idea if Sunderland do fail to beat the drop - especially with a highly rated young player coming in return.

Khazri Pays the Price, but is debate first sign of angst with Moyes?

Wahbi Khazri has paid the price for his indiscipline at the African Cup of Nations with his international future thrown in to doubt.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty images

The Sunderland midfielder has not been selected by coach Henry Kasperczak for Tunisia's friendlies against Cameroon and Morocco which take place in the coming week or so.

Khazri refused to shake hands with Kasperczak as he was substituted in the ACON2017 quarter-finals - a game which Tunisia lost to Burkina Faso.

The Sunderland man is not the only Tunisian to pay a price for his apparent indiscretion. Defensive midfielder, Ferjani Sassi, who plays for ES Tunis has also been dropped for openly questioning the coach's team selections during that game which saw the North African country exit the tournament.

Back 'home', the debate surrounding Wahbi Khazri and his continued absence from the Sunderland side is threatening to evidence a wedge between David Moyes and the Stadium of Light faithful.

The 26-year-old's introduction to the field of play with twelve minutes remaining on Saturday drew the biggest cheer of the afternoon - mainly ironic - in the stalemate against Burnley.

Moyes' explanation on Friday for why he hasn't been selecting Khazri - despite his side now failing to score in four consecutive games - was widely scoffed at.

The Sunderland manager suggested he requires the attacking midfielder to 'score me a goal or make me a goal' and that because that hasn't happened, he hasn't been picking Khazri.

With the player averaging just eight minutes or so on the pitch in his last eight games, that statement was widely mocked.

And the Khazri debate may have wider significance yet. Because the derision displayed towards Moyes on Saturday over the midfielder's latest late appearance is the first vocal antagonism to have been displayed by Sunderland supporters towards the Scot.

Outright protests and 'Moyes out' chants are some way off at the Stadium of Light with the bulk of angst aimed at the manager remaining online.

But the debate over Khazri - in various arenas and now at the ground itself - might just openly demonstrate the first actual evidence of rankling between fan and manager.

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