Speculation over the possibility of Sunderland's Ji Dong-won being loaned to a lower-league outfit is gaining steam. In an interview with a local paper, Shields Gazette, on Thursday (Korean time), Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill talked about the prospect of loaning out several players when the market opens this weekend.
Young forwards Ji and Connor Wickham were the main subjects of discussion, hinting that they may be on their way out of the English Premier League, at least temporarily.
Ji showed how he has matured as a footballer during the recently ended London Olympics, but he has still struggled to take command at Sunderland.
During the summer transfer window, the club acquired former Manchester United forward Louis Saha and Wolverhampton forward Steven Fletcher. Stéphane Sessègnon, who has led the team's attack for the past two seasons, also renewed his contract until 2015. Wickham, whom Ji was competing with for a slot in the forward line-up last season, is also in good form.
Ji rejoined the team on Aug. 27 after taking a break in Korea following the Olympics. He was named as a sub for the away match against Swansea on Sept. 1, but in the end he didn't see any playing time.
He also failed to make the team's 25-man roster for the EPL that was released on Wednesday. The roster lists the first-tier players each club confirms early in the season it will use until next January.
Although the summer transfer window closed at the end of August, loans to lower-tier leagues including the Championship can be made from Saturday until Nov. 25.