SUNDERLAND will hold discussions over Alfred N’Diaye’s future next week, with the midfielder reluctant to return to Real Betis.
N’Diaye looked to be heading towards the Sunderland exit door after reports emerged in Spain that the Black Cats were in advanced talks with Betis over the sale of the Senegal international.
Betis were thought to be close to agreeing a fee of around £1.5million – plus add-ons – for N’Diaye, who spent the second half of last season on loan at the club, who finished bottom of Spain’s Primera Division.
But the 24-year-old’s agent and brother, Bakary N’Diaye, insists he is yet to hear from either party over a potential sale and is due to hold a meeting with Sunderland chief executive Margaret Byrne and sporting director Lee Congerton next week.
Betis’s hopes of agreeing a contract with N’Diaye may be scuppered though, with the powerful midfielder preferring to prove himself in the Premier League than drop down to the Spanish Segunda Division.
“I have read all the speculation, but I have not actually heard anything and, as far as I am concerned, he is staying at Sunderland,” Bakary N’Diaye told the Echo.
“I will meet with the club next week, with Margaret Byrne and Lee Congerton, to have a discussion.
“At the moment, he is with the team and is working hard in pre-season.
“Real Betis really loved him and he had a great relationship with the coach.
“He was happy over there with the city and the club, but now he is back with Sunderland.
“Betis want him and I know they keep talking with Sunderland about him.
“But he does not want to play in the Spanish Second Division.
“He would prefer to play in the Premier League with Sunderland.
“That is his main goal and he is focusing on that every day.”
N’Diaye was a surprise departure last summer after just six months on Wearside, when former head coach Paolo Di Canio sanctioned his loan move to Turkish side Eskisehirspor.
Gus Poyet then had the option of recalling N’Diaye in the January transfer window, but tellingly gave the go-ahead to a subsequent loan move to Betis, as he was not thought to be part of the Uruguayan’s long-term plans.
But, after almost a fortnight of pre-season training back at the Academy of Light, N’Diaye – a £3.8million signing 18 months ago – is determined to make the most of his second opportunity at the Stadium of Light.
“Sunderland are interested in Alfred,” added Bakary N’Diaye.
“He was given a programme to follow during the summer which he did and the feedback from the club has been good.
“He loves the club and wants to do his best to be in the team.”