Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has admitted that on-loan midfielder Ki Sung-Yong could play a central role in the remainder of the side's Premier League campaign, although he has not yet looked into the possibility of recruiting the South Korean on a permanent basis.
The 24-year-old is currently with the Wearsiders on a season-long loan deal from Swansea and has caught the eye in a struggling side, most notably during last weekend’s shock win over Manchester City.
"It is still early doors and I don't know how expensive he is [to keep permanently],” Poyet told the Northern Echo. “But we will see. He plays the type of football that I really admire.
"He has the ability to pass the ball with just one touch and change from one side to the other, or run with the ball and have a shot with either foot.
"If he believes that he can do a bit of the work the other way, the defensive way, he is a player who can give us the lot."
Last weekend’s victory was the club’s third in the five games under their new manager, and Ki’s presence in central midfield was in part down to the absence of captain Lee Cattermole, who was serving the second of a three-match suspension.
And the South Korean’s showing was such that Poyet claims that there ares no guarantees that his skipper will return to the side once he is available again.
"He [Ki] had to wait for his chance. In the beginning, it was Lee Cattermole in there and he wanted to play in that position.
"Then there was the sending off, and he needed to come in and show the manager that he wanted the shirt. He had to make it difficult for Lee to come back. He is there at the moment, and he has the chance to stay there."