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SAFC Exit Watch: Defoe confirms departure; Loan again mooted for Khazri & Mannone tops club's wishlist

With the transfer window set to open three weeks on Saturday, several Sunderland first team players will be finalising plans to depart the Stadium of Light as we speak. Here's the latest on three of them with Jermain Defoe confirming his imminent signing for Bournemouth.

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

Defoe confirms Bournemouth move

England striker Jermain Defoe has confirmed he is set to swap the north east of England for the south coast with a move to AFC Bournemouth.

Hull City v Sunderland - Premier League
Defoe set to wash relegation right out of his hair
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

The 34-year-old joined Sunderland two-and-a-half years ago and hit 34 goals in his 87 appearances. Defoe earned an international recall for his performances on Wearside after the Black Cats swooped in January 2015 to end his dismal spell in the MLS.

A swap deal for flop Jozy Altidore rescued the former Tottenham striker from Toronto and returned him to the Premier League.

On his planned move to the Cherries, Defoe told BBC Radio Five Live:

It's out there, a lot of people obviously knew. I did a medical and said when this is finished and I've had a break, come July everyone will know anyway.

And the centre forward signed off with a message to the Sunderland fans he leaves behind in the Championship for next season:

Two and a bit years at Sunderland. I enjoyed my time there. It's not nice when you get relegated, I don't think it's fair on the Sunderland fans to come out so soon after they've been relegated and say 'yeah, I'm signing for someone else'.

So he did anyway. In a roundabout way.


Khazri loan exit mooted

Reports in Turkey have suggested Wahbi Khazri could be a target for Fenerbahçe as the Istanbul club prepare to rebuild their squad after a mediocre campaign under Dick Advocaat.

Sunderland v AFC Bournemouth - Premier League
Wahbi Khazri
Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images

With Sunderland man Jeremain Lens' loan deal now all but completed and the Dutchman looking increasingly likely to move to Turkish champions Beşiktaş - despite reports elsewhere - Fenerbahçe are in the market for a replacement attacking midfielder.

And Khazri could fit the bill. The 26-year-old Tunisian has already insisted that he intends leaving the Stadium of Light this summer. The reports suggest Fenerbahçe are considering offering the Sunderland player a season out on loan.

After a disappointing term under David Moyes, the former Bordeaux man has been linked with a return to Les Girondins from which Sunderland signed him in 2016. Alternative suggested options include Olympique Marseille or a move to Spain.

Middlesbrough v Sunderland - Premier League
Khazri in action against Middlesbrough
Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Khazri has been linked with Fenerbahçe before and a loan move is repeatedly suggested as the most likely means by which he could land in Turkey. Purely because the Super Lig club have no money to spend - restricted as they are by Financial Fair Play regulations.

A loan would probably not be viewed as the most favourable deal for Sunderland with the club desperate to raise some cash from transfer fees this summer. But with a wage bill at the Stadium of Light which needs roughly chopping in half, if no suitable permanent offers land for Khazri a temporary exit with the destination club paying his salary would be the next best option.


Genoa still pursuing Mannone

Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone was rumoured to be a target for Genoa in January and reports in Italy have today suggested the Serie A club have identified the 28-year-old as a top target this summer.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Premier League
Vito Mannone
Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

With Jordan Pickford picking up an injury over the Christmas period and third choice stopper Mika Domingues still untested, the Black Cats resisted any bids for Mannone during the mid-season transfer window.

But the stopper who has been at the Stadium of Light since 2013 looks set to depart Sunderland in the coming weeks.

There have been suggestions that Mannone was told by David Moyes he would be sold this summer but with the dour Scot now little more than a bad memory, the Italian 'keeper may yet have a future on Wearside.

With Jordan Pickford likely to leave Sunderland, Mannone has as good a chance as anyone of reestablishing himself as the Black Cats' number one next season in the Championship.

However, England's top clubs look set to play the long game in the battle for Pickford's signature in a game of who-blinks-first over Sunderland's £30m valuation. And the continuing uncertainty over his young rival's future may unsettle Mannone sufficiently to remain set on departing.

Everton have been the first side to make a move for Pickford with a reported bid of £8m lodged to test the waters. That derisory offer was a clear ploy to indicate to Sunderland that £30m is on the ambitious side for how much the Black Cats can hope to raise from the sale of the England Under-21 goalkeeper.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League
Jordan Pickford
Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

And with the 23-year-old off to the Under-21 European Championships next week until the end of the month, further bidding will no doubt be put on hold until July once the tournament is over.

As for Genoa, the Serie A club will be in the market for a goalkeeper this close season with current incumbent Eugenio Lamanna finishing the campaign panned by his manager Ivan Juric for some dodgy displays.

The 27-year-old is expected to step down to a Serie B side next season and Mannone would be an ideal signing for the side which have just finished 5th bottom of Italy's top-tier.