Brighton return with McNair bid
Sunderland rejected a ‘derisory’ bid of £2m from Brighton this week for Paddy McNair but the Seagulls have since returned with an improved offer - and with McNair also keen on a return to the Premier League, we may see him depart the Stadium of Light in the near future.
Roker Report can confirm that though Sunderland’s owners have turned down Brighton’s improved offer today, the club are expecting Chris Hughton to return with yet another bid for the former Manchester United man.
McNair, speaking whilst on international duty, confirmed that he is keen to get back to the Premier League but wants to wait until after he returns from Northern Ireland’s friendlies to discuss his future:
If I can get back to the Premier League, that would be great, but I just want to concentrate on these Northern Ireland games and look at that afterwards.
Unfortunately his future may no longer be at Sunderland but should he leave, we can hopefully get an acceptable fee which can be put towards building a squad good enough to get us promoted back into the Championship at the first attempt.
McNair also discussed how difficult the last 18 months had been for him after he was blighted by injuries, only returning in the second half of last season:
The last year and a half was really difficult for me, more mentally, in the gym every day, watching games from the stands.
Words can’t really explain how frustrating it actually was, so it’s great to be back. Playing the last two months of the club season and coming here with Northern Ireland is great.
The 23-year-old also talked positively about playing under Northern Ireland boss Michael O’Neill:
It’s great when you have a manager believing in you. I love playing for Michael because he gives me so much confidence. I’ve learned a lot off him since I first came into the squad and I think I’ve definitely improved.
If you look around the squad now there are players fighting for every position. More so in the last two years, but that’s a positive thing for the team.
That’s why we’ve done so well. Every day in training you’re working hard to impress Michael, but you know there’s always someone who can take your place. It’s really good to have competition, because it brings out the best in the team.
Turkish club chase Khazri
Wahbi Khazri shone during his loan spell with Rennes last season and, according to reports in Turkey, his good performances in Ligue 1 have attracted the attention of Besiktas.
Reports suggest that Besiktas want a new number 10 and that Khazri heads that list, with the player also reportedly keen on a move to the Süper Lig team. Jeremain Lens recently completed a move to Besiktas from Sunderland and the Turkish team’s board are hoping the good relations between the teams will help them during negotiations.
Khazri is under contract to Sunderland until 2020 and is certain to leave after our relegation to League One but any transfer may be delayed due to the player being in the Tunisian squad for the forthcoming World Cup.