WITH Newcastle United among a number of clubs monitoring Djibril Cisse’s situation, strike partner Kenwyne Jones last night urged Sunderland chiefs to make the Frenchman’s future a priority.
But the former Liverpool striker admitted earlier this week that he is becoming increasingly “annoyed” by the lack of progress over his next move as he attempts to stay in the Premier League.
And with the futures of Michael Owen and Obafemi Martins unclear on Tyneside, Newcastle manager Joe Kinnear has enlisted Cisse among a number of possible summer targets.
The ten-goal forward is desperate for a decision one way or the other from Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn and manager Ricky Sbragia, so that he can then work on other ways of securing a fulltime Premier League move.
Jones, whose partnership with Cisse has still not blossomed, is clear in what he thinks should happen, suggesting the sooner Sunderland tie the France international down to a longer-term deal the better.
“I hope the club keep Djibril,” said Jones. “It depends on which direction the club wants to go. The bosses are talking about whether they want to keep him, it is not my decision, but it is important they do I think.”
Quinn has outlined that supporters need to take advantage of the new season ticket prices before he can hold talks over a summer transfer budget with the club’s largest shareholder, Ellis Short.
And having to pledge £10m on a deal for Cisse would seriously restrict Sbragia’s plans to strengthen other areas of his squad. Jones, though, believes Sunderland need to prove they mean business.
“A club has to state its intention and its ambition,” said Jones. “You want to build a good team to move up the league. If you have top players and you can keep them, you should do.
“But again, it’s not my decision, that is up to the people who run the club so we will have to wait and see what happens at the end of the season.
“Personally I would like the team progressing, getting stronger.
“I want Sunderland to push for bigger things and of course the quality of players we bring in is the most important part of that.”
Sunderland are not yet certain to be playing in the Premier League next season, so Quinn and the Sunderland board will be reluctant to commit to such a transfer until their future is clear.
Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham has left the Black Cats five points clear of the relegation zone with ten matches remaining. It is a situation that Newcastle and Middlesbrough would love to be in, and Jones remains confident.
“It was probably vital we didn’t lose the Tottenham game because that could be a very important point come the end of the season,” said Jones. “It’s still a point which is moving us in the right direction, which is away from the bottom three, so that is something positive.
“There are a lot of teams below us who are in a lot worse situations than us.
We’re steady and we keep putting points on the table.
We just need to keep going.”