Back in November, the Sunderland Echo‘s thoughtful columnist Tony Gillan posed the interesting question: “Are Jan Kirchhoff’s legs so wonky that he couldn’t be offered a rolling contract?
Given the extent of Sunderland’s midfield problems – injuries and sheer lack of quality – it’s an idea that could have legs, depending of course on the actual state of that wonkiness.
It is clear Chris Coleman will have precious little money to spend on what has become a desperate battle for survival even at the lowly level to which the club has been allowed to sink.
Kirchhoff has been without a club since leaving Wearside at the end of last season. He was certainly injury-prone, but he is still only 27.
Gillan wrote that any debate about which area of Sunderland’s team was weakest was so depressing that it was “to be avoided”. He nevertheless suggested central midfield as the key area, recalled how superb Kirchhoff had been under Big Sam and reminded readers how popular he had become after a shaky start.
“Maybe [his legs] are [too wonk]and the mere suggestion smacks of desperation,” he added. “But so what?”
It’s a thought, desperate or otherwise, that has also occurred to a Salut! Sunderland reader, Dave Gladstone.
“Given the injury to Darron Gibson and how vital he has become to our system (amazing as that seems), why is nobody talking about Jan Kirchhoff as a possibility?” he asks
“He plays in a similar way to Gibson but is significantly better at it, doesn’t currently have a club and was very popular here.
“I know he is prone to injury but signing him on a six-month deal with an option to extend would not seem a very high risk to me and would give him the chance to remind clubs of his ability.”
Does anyone out there have an update on Kirchhoff’s fitness?