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Former Sunderland midfield maestro set for free transfer to relegation rivals; still do a job?

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News today claims that former Sunderland favourite Jan Kirchhoff is set for a return to English football with fellow strugglers Bolton Wanderers.

Sunderland v Manchester United - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

According to Alan Nixon of the Sun, former Sunderland midfielder Jan Kirchhoff looks set to complete a free transfer move to fellow Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers following a successful trial period with the Trotters.

Nixon alleges that Kirchhoff suitably impressed in a practice game this week, and Bolton gaffer Phil Parkinson is keen to tie the versatile German down to a deal that will keep him at the club until the end of the season.

Kirchhoff has been without a club since leaving Wearside last summer, overlooked largely due to his damaged reputation which comes as a result of the horrific injury problems that have plagued him throughout his career.

Sunderland v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Whilst the former Bayern Munich man was able to contribute successfully during Sam Allardyce’s stint at the club, he struggled for fitness throughout last season and played just 154 minutes of football under the stewardship of David Moyes.

Kirchhoff was hampered by a hamstring issue which kept him out of the picture from the summer right up until the winter, eventually returning having played in a couple of games for our U23s side.

He made his long-awaited return at half time when we were 1-0 down at home to Leicester, contributing massively as we then went on to win the game 2-1, and then made a further appearance from the bench for the final half an hour in our defeat away at Swansea.

Sunderland v Leicester City - Premier League
Kirchhoff’s header against Leicester found its way into the net via Robert Huth
Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images

Having shown his fitness, Kirchhoff was reinstated to the starting eleven for the home game with Chelsea, but lasted just under an hour before again succumbing to injury, and he failed to register another appearance in a red and white shirt before finding himself out of contract upon the finalisation of the season.

Since then, Kirchhoff has spent a period of time trying to earn contracts with a variety of clubs - with one rumour suggesting that he was taking part in a ‘training camp’ for out of contract players in Germany during the summer, when traditionally players would be taking part in a regular pre-season regimen.

Whether the time off away from the game will have done Kirchhoff’s fitness the world of good remains to be seen, but you have to concede that if he’s able to play regularly between now and the end of the season that Bolton are getting a truly wonderful footballer whose ability far exceeds that of a Championship relegation battle.