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Out of contract but he might stay; Agent drops big hint over star's future & discusses bids

Sebastian Larsson is out of contract at Sunderland this summer, and as supporters wait to find out if the veteran midfielder will be offered a new deal or not, his agent has dropped a pretty big hint over his future.

Sweden v Belarus - FIFA 2018 World Cup Qualifier Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Ombrello/Getty Images

After six years at the Stadium of Light, Sebastian Larsson is out of contract at Sunderland this summer.

With no sign of the retained list which will identify those players the Black Cats wish to keep, the 31-year-old's agent has told Swedish media that his client intends to stay in England next season. But will he remain with Sunderland?

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League
Sebastian Larsson in a familiar pose (R)
Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

Larsson's long-time representative Per Jonsson has told Swedish outlet Fotbolldirekt that the midfielder has received offers from around the world but that despite interest from his native Sweden, he intends to remain in this country with English clubs preparing to move for him:

He's not ready to go home. Sebastian is very keen to stay in England and besides bids from there, there are clubs in Turkey and China which have submitted bids.

That statement certainly sounds as if Larsson will not return to Sunderland next season, though it is open to a certain amount of interpretation.

But with the managerial position at the Stadium of Light unlikely to be filled until next week at the earliest, all is on hold.

It's possible that the original plans to award fresh deals to some and to release others may yet be ripped up - though that's unlikely.

David Moyes indicated that he had held talks about three weeks ago with those individuals the club wished to keep. Then ten days ago, he resigned.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League
Moyes, Larsson and a referee. The midfielder was sent off against Manchester United in April
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Presumably Sunderland proceeded reasonably far down the road of discussing contract extensions or exit plans with the eight individuals whose deals are set expire this summer. All will become clear of course, but probably not until the new man is unveiled and settles himself in.

Sebastian Larsson joined Sunderland in 2011. Since then he's played over 200 games for nine different managers. The midfielder - who turns 32 this week - is one of the few long-serving players to have survived the unending series of successive regimes and philosophy changes at the Stadium of Light.

Larsson featured 21 times in the Premier League during the campaign just ended. He returned to the side in December following knee surgery after Euro 2016.

A regular under David Moyes, the Swede was sent off against Manchester United at the Stadium of Light in April and copped a three-game ban but returned to the squad thereafter and featured for 90 minutes in both of Sunderland's final two games of the season at Arsenal and Chelsea.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League
Larsson battling Mesut Ozil during what looks like being his penultimate game for Sunderland against Arsenal a fortnight ago
Photo by Charlie Crowhurst/Getty Images

The veteran of 88 caps for Sweden will be aiming to book a place at next year's World Cup having returned to the international scene during the last set of qualifying fixtures held in March.

Even if Larsson has received an offer of a new deal at Sunderland, the player may yet feel he would have a better chance of making the tournament in Russia with a fresh start elsewhere.

The former Arsenal and Birmingham City midfielder has been linked with a summer move to Serie A side Fiorentina but his agent's comments about remaining in this country likely rule that out.

Larsson was also rumoured to be a target for Leeds United last summer before he was sidelined with that knee problem.