Arbenit Xhemajli appeared for Sunderland in a pre-season friendly at the weekend against Gateshead, despite a claim that the Black Cats were no longer interested in signing him.
Chronicle Live were among the first to report the Wearside club’s interest earlier this month, with the Kosovo centre-back currently a free agent following his exit from Neuchatel Xamax.
Xhemajli, who is valued at £765,000 by Transfermarkt, was born in Switzerland but represents the Kosovo national side and he has attracted the interest of Sunderland manager Phil Parkinson.
However, despite being offered the chance to attend a tour of the Stadium of Light and club’s training facilities, Chronicle Live claimed last week that any interest in moving to England had ended. That report now seems to have been premature, with the youngster featuring for Sunderland as they beat non-league side Gateshead 3-1 thanks to goals from Chris Maguire, Will Grigg and Josh Scowen.
Sunderland fan website Roker Report reviewed the defender’s performance against Gateshead, handing him a 6/10.
“Hit the post with a cracking header, looked assured in possession and was aggressive on the rare occasions he had to defend,” the website opined, whilst Parkinson also commented on his performance.
“Arbenit is a good player,” said the Sunderland boss after the match. “One of the factors in the salary cap issue is that it does become a numbers game.
“You can only have 22 players over the age of 21 and so we have to be really careful and ensure anyone who comes in is ready to make a contribution.
“He did well today.”
With finances now tightened across the English Football League due to the salary cap introduction, Parkinson will have his work cut out to secure a number of deals between now and the end of the season.
Bringing in Xhemajli would be a gamble, with the defender having no experience of English football, but he seems to have impressed with his performance at the weekend,
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