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Fresh interest in midfielder & Considering Congerton's claims - Clement was one of 3 contenders

Fresh reports in Sweden suggest IFK Göteborg are keen on landing Seb Larsson this summer - a claim not denied by the club's Sporting Director. And Lee Congerton has admitted he tried to hire this weekend’s opposition manager Paul Clement in 2015. Just how close was the 45-year-old to taking the Sunderland job?

Swansea City v Everton - Premier League Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Fresh interest in midfielder

According to reports in Sweden, IFK Gothenberg are the latest club to have shown an interest in Sunderland midfielder Sebastian Larsson.

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League
Seb Larsson takes to the stands during his recent three match ban
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The player who turns 32 next month is out of contract at the Stadium of Light at the end of the season with discussion being held this week on the futures of the eight such players who may be offered a new deal.

Larsson was linked with a move to Fiorentina in Italy just this week as interest builds in the veteran of 200 appearances in a Sunderland shirt.

Leicester City v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images

With six years and nine managers to show for his spell on Wearside, the Swede has managed a rare longevity at the club which has experienced the ninth highest turnover of players in Europe's top leagues in the past five seasons.

Earlier this year, Larsson told the Swedish media it remains a dream of his to return to his home country to see out his career. But he added that he was not yet ready to move back to the Scandinavian leagues believing he will still have a few good years in Europe's top divisions in him.

The veteran of over 80 caps for his country also recently revealed that Gothenberg are his favourite Swedish club.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
Larsson has an army of fans back home in Sweden. Some of whom travelled to the Stadium of Light last month. To see him get sent off.
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Nothing is certain though with IFK's sporting director Mats Gren telling Swedish TV that the mooted switch remains firmly still stuck at the idea stage:

I have not talked to Sebastian, he is a fantastic team player. All players at this level are interesting, no doubt about it. But it would be an opportunity for us, I can not say anything about it.

It is entirely possible that this fresh burst of transfer rumours surrounding Larsson indicates that he will be on his way out of the Stadium of Light this summer.

With the Swede one of the higher earners at the club, David Moyes may yet have decided to rebuild a fresher midfielder and move Seb Larsson on. Then again, there may be nothing in any of this.


Congerton - I tried to get Clement to Sunderland

Former Director of Football Lee Congerton has told BBC Radio Wales that he tried to appoint Saturday's opposition boss Paul Clement as Sunderland manager in 2015.

Lee Congerton is now with Celtic
Credit: BBC

The Swansea boss took over from Bob Bradley in January and has steered the Swans to the brink of safety with six wins from fifteen though much still rests on the outcome of this weekend’s encounter with Sunderland.

The Swans are just a single point ahead of the Black Cats' last opponents Hull City and with Clement leading his team out at the Stadium of Light this Saturday and the Tigers at Crystal Palace on Sunday, this weekend's results will be crucial in determining who takes the final relegation spot.

Swansea City v Everton - Premier League
Swansea boss Paul Clement
Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

Congerton said of Clement who had been working with Carlos Ancelotti during stints at Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid before talking to Sunderland:

He'd been working with one of the best coaches in the world for a long time. I know Paul had a desire to go on his own and he spoke with the owner at Sunderland and myself, but it wasn't to be.

That was because Dick Advocaat changed his mind on retiring after he successfully saved Sunderland from relegation following the sacking of Gus Poyet in 2015. The veteran Dutch coach eventually performed a U-turn and agreed to owner Ellis Short's offer of a further one year deal at the Stadium of Light.

But not before Sunderland had spoken to three other candidates that summer - Clement, Sean Dyche and Patrick Viera - on the assumption Advocaat had no interest in coming back to the club.

Destiny now dictates that the decision to pursue Advocaat was the wrong one. The former Rangers and PSV Eindhoven manager would last just eight games into the new season before walking out on Sunderland.

Dyche has gone on to perform admirably at Burnley and by some accounts he had been introduced to the Sunderland players that summer before the phone call from Advocaat put paid to him taking the Stadium of Light hot seat.

Sunderland v Burnley - Premier League
Sean Dyche at the Stadium of Light in March. He was very nearly appointed as manager in 2015
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

Patrick Viera is now managing in the MLS with New York City. He was also interviewed for the Newcastle job in the summer of 2015 but ultimately joined neither north east club. The former Arsenal midfielder was loosely linked with the Sunderland manager's role earlier this season when David Moyes was under pressure.

New York City FC v Orlando City SC
Patrick Viera was the other candidate who spoke to Sunderland before Dick Advocaat returned to the Stadium of Light hot seat
Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images

And after a disappointing spell with Derby County, Clement has gained acclaim for turning around Swansea's fortunes this season - as we may see for ourselves this weekend.

And just remember - we have Ellis Short to thank for that fated judgement call.

As for Congerton, he concluded his interview with the BBC with this proud boast - one which he's made before:

When I arrived at Sunderland they were bottom of the league and we managed to stay up on two separate occasions.

Yes that's right. Lee Congerton's legacy at Sunderland was to spend tens of millions of pounds over a two-year spell transforming a club at the bottom of the Premier League into one that limped to fifth bottom and fourth bottom - with the second of those finishes coming after he had been placed on gardening leave by a fed-up chairman. Seriously.