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Interview: Benji Kimpioka’s agent on where the Sunderland forward’s contract negotiations are at

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Talk surrounding Benji Kimpioka’s contract situation has gone deathly quiet, despite the fact his deal runs out at the end of the season. To find out where things are at we sat down for a chat with his agent, Martin Klette.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

RR: It’s well known now amongst supporters that Benji Kimpioka has yet to find a resolution in signing a new contract with Sunderland. Why do you feel that things haven’t progressed as quickly as you might have hoped?

MK: Benjamin has always been happy about being in Sunderland.

Since the end of 2018 we have expressed an interest in discussing a new contract, but only based on Sunderland’s own judgement and interest of making Benjamin a first team player.

Benjamin would sign a new contract to play for the first team, not to stay additional years in the reserves or to be loaned out to another club than Sunderland, since it is in Sunderland he would want to play.

If he would want to play in another club we would consider a contract there.

RR: Do you feel that a conclusion could and should have been reached by now?

MK: I have no real comment to that since it is only the manager of Sunderland who can decide if and when Benjamin is good enough to be a first team player in Sunderland.

I, as Benjamin’s lawyer and agent, cannot make that decision.

RR: Last season Benji was moved back to train with the U23s. Has he worked much with the first team squad this season?

MK: He has been in and out of the first team squad’s training in pre-season and after.

Sunderland v Coventry City - Sky Bet League One Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

RR: How has Jack Ross been with Benji throughout all of this?

MK: Benjamin likes and respects both Jack Ross and John Potter.

Personally I have never had contact with Mr Ross, but have only dealt with Richard Hill.

RR: Commonly in England a young player will have several loan moves before moving into the first team, but at Sunderland we’re in a rather unique position where we’re playing third tier football and also a lot of cup football, so there’s scope for our youngsters to gain significant experience of first team football at our club. What sort of path do you feel that Benji is destined for?

MK: I think he is ready to train and play for Sunderland’s first team. From what Benjamin has told me I know that Mr Ross does not plan to lend him out.

RR: Benji is 19. Where do you see his career going in five years from now?

MK: Benjamin has a big potential and the right character to have a big career if he avoids injuries. In five years I think and hope he will play regularly in a top five league, but as with all young players he has to take things step by step.

He is fortunate to have a really good and caring family with both feet on the ground, which is not the case for all young talented players.

In last Tuesday’s U21 national team game against Ireland I think he was one of the best players on the pitch, so he has a big future as I see it.