Wahbi Khazri has been in the spotlight again this weekend after facing abuse from sections of the travelling support down at Barnsley. However, in a lengthy social media post written in broken English, the Tunisian has addressed his current situation.
The 26-year-old appears to suggest he is listening to offers from other clubs because of his disappointments at the Stadium of Light last season but Khazri backtracks somewhat - likely to cover his arse in case he’s forced to stay - by declaring his affections for Sunderland.
Khazri has continued his bit-part contribution for the Black Cats this season under new boss Simon Grayson following his frustrations at not being given a chance under David Moyes in the Premier League.
The Tunisian playmaker has featured in three Championship fixtures, only managing some 70 minutes of league action and he does suggest in the Instagram post that he spoke to the French media last week about a move because of his desire to be playing regularly.
Despite declaring his desire to leave in order to play football, Khazri suggests the decision is not yet set in stone - “it remains a difficult choice for me because I like to be a Sunderland [player]”. Wahbi also notes that he is not “demotivated” and that he will always fight and have respect for Sunderland, no matter what happens this week.
The whole message is odd, and serves perhaps as a means to cover the Tunisian’s back in case he doesn’t secure his move away from the North East. Either way, his situation will be resolved by the end of the week.
Since my arrival in Sunderland, I am proud to wear the colors of the jersey, I have always invested 100%. I love football and the enthusiasm it brings. It is true that during my last interview I expressed my desire to leave, because following my year pass that as you all know, was very difficult for me and for the club. Today I need to play football, as for you it is also my passion, and like any passion It is difficult to do without it, so yes I am listening to sports project however I wanted to Said that it remains a difficult choice for me because I like to be a Sunderland contrary to what has been said about me, I am far from being demotivated and I would always fight For my team, I and I 'Would always have respect for the club and its supporters who welcomed me and never gave up even in difficulty.
Khazri was subject to a round of boos from the away fans at Oakwell on Saturday as Sunderland slumped to a successive defeat at he hands of opposition from Yorkshire.
The former Bordeaux man was targeted for that public declaration of his desire to leave the Stadium of Light and, in part, for his limp performances of late - notably a lazy, uninterested appearance at Carlisle in the Carabao Cup Tuesday - just hours before his ‘come and get me plea’ was aired in France.
The 3-0 defeat at the hands of Barnsley has done little to help the mood of a Sunderland support increasingly frustrated by the club’s inability to compete in the transfer market which concludes with the closure of the window this week.
With feelings running high, it’s difficult to judge whether Wahbi Khazri remaining at the Stadium of Light beyond this transfer window will be warmly welcomed by the Sunderland faithful who were so supportive to the player last season.