Kosovo international Arbenit Xhemajli has returned to Switzerland as talks over a potential move to Sunderland continue.
Chronicle Live were first among many media outlets to report that the Wearside club were interested in the young defender, who became a free agent following his exit from Neuchatel Xamax this summer.
Xhemajli, who is valued at £765,000 by Transfermarkt, was born in Switzerland but represents the Kosovo national side and the Black Cats’ interest in the defender saw him feature as a trialist in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Gateshead.
The 3-1 win over the non-league side saw Chris Maguire, Will Grigg and Josh Scowen find the back of the net as Xhemajli got the chance to prove his worth to Phil Parkinson, with Sunderland fan website Roker Report handing him a 6/10 rating for his performance.
Sunderland, who faced Carlisle United on Tuesday afternoon, were expected to hand the youngster a further chance to impress but his absence from the side could raise questions as to whether they will offer the 22-year-old a contract.
Sunderland Echo have since confirmed that the youngster has returned to Switzerland as talks over a contract continue. The report added that Black Cats manager Parkinson is keen to add a defender but wants to be sure of getting the right player.
With the introduction of the salary cap in the English Football League, Parkinson has to tread very carefully with his deals between now and the end of the transfer window.
Bringing in Xhemajli may prove to be a gamble, given that the defender has no experience of English football, although at least now the Sunderland boss will have been given an idea as to how he might fare in this country following his appearance on Saturday.
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