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Back to survey the wreck of his relegation wish; Jeremain Lens returns to Sunderland – what now?

He caused consternation in January by suggesting Sunderland being relegated would make his life easier. Well now he's due back on Wearside to survey the wreckage of that wish. But what now for Jeremain Lens?

Watford v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Jeremain Lens is back in training with Sunderland this week following the end of his season-long loan spell with Fenerbahçe. After seemingly declaring that he hoped the Black Cats would be relegated in order to make a permanent exit more straight forward for him this summer, what now?

According to the Sunderland Echo, Lens will return to the Academy of Light later this week as the first team squad are in Austria for a five-day training camp.

The player uploaded this photo to his social media account a couple of days ago of him in Sunderland training kit to preview his return to pre-season fitness work.

The image Jeremain Lens uploaded to his Instagram account

It was January when the Dutch international declared live on Turkish TV that the drop for his parent club would be beneficial for him:

I would like to stay for many years at Fenerbahce but it's not just for me to look at,

I hope I could get a signature that will allow me to stay here.

I do not want to talk about my contract, but many things will be easier if Sunderland drop down. Let's wait and see.

Well now he has his wish, so what reaction will he get from staff and players when he arrives at the Academy of Light later this week to begin pre-season preparations?

David Moyes - the manager who slammed his comments as a 'disgrace' - may have gone, as have a couple of first team squad members, but the rest of the players remain as do most of the backroom coaching staff and other assorted employees of Sunderland AFC who bore witness to Lens' desire that if they all dropped into the Championship it would make his life easier.

And that's not to mention the Sunderland fans - who the 29-year-old winger no doubt owes something of an apology to. Not that he will of course. Because Jeremain Lens is likely too preoccupied plotting his exit from Wearside as soon as he can, to the prospective employers who will pay him the biggest wage next season.

New manager of Fenerbahçe, Aykut Kocaman, yesterday told the media in Turkey that the Istanbul club have made Lens an offer and are now awaiting his response.

Jeremain Lens playing for Fenerbahce last season

It's been widely reported that the player has made certain demands over wages to make his move a permanent one, demands which the Turkish outfit have so far been unable to accommodate.

Reports over how much the Dutchman is hoping for vary between 3-million and 4-million euros per season, but probably equate roughly to what he's been earning at Sunderland.

It's not clear whether Lens would be subject to the standard forty-percent pay cut that most players at the Stadium of Light will suffer in the Championship but there have been suggestions he is free to leave Sunderland for a reduced price due to a clause triggered by the drop - similar to that which seemingly allowed Fabio Borini to depart for a fee eventually rising to a maximum of 6-million-euros.

In truth, the prospect of him staying on Wearside to pick up his Sunderland career is negligible. Lens is likely back to ensure he keeps his fitness levels up before joining a new club and to be on hand to negotiate a favourable exit first hand with the hierarchy at the Stadium of Light.

Sunderland v West Ham United - Premier League
Lens scoring a cracker against West Ham in October 2015
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

A talented footballer, Lens would rock the Championship. The former PSV Eindhoven and Dynamo Kyiv player would add width and quality to a squad lacking both right now - and a squad likely to be lacking both even further come the start of the second-tier campaign once other individuals depart the Stadium of Light in the coming weeks.

With the Netherlands still retaining a chance of making the 2018 World Cup next year, Lens will have one eye on making his old boss Dick Advocaat's Dutch squad for the tournament in Russia and playing in English football's Championship may lessen that prospect.

More than that, Jeremain Lens is seeking to maximise his earnings and has supposedly already rejected the chance of making a return to Dutch football because salary levels in the Eredivisie can not match those in the Turkish or English game.

He may be due back, but it will be a fleeting stopover.

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