Permanent deal interests loan defender Mensah
JOHN Mensah is keen to complete a permanent transfer to Sunderland after claiming the club's physios are helping him overcome the injury niggles that have blighted his career. Mensah's loan deal from French club Lyon is due to expire at the end of the season, but the Black Cats have until May 30 to take up an option to turn his temporary stay into a full-time deal. The defender would like to remain on Wearside, and while manager Steve Bruce claims he is yet to make any decisions about his summer transfer policy, Mensah will be doing all he can to earn a permanent contract at the Stadium of Light. I would like to stay here, said the Ghana international. I am happy and glad, and my colleagues make me happy. I am enjoying it at Sunderland. My dad and my brother were here for the Manchester City game and that is the first time my family have come here to watch a game. I am very happy and I tried to show my mum and dad how well their son is playing. Ultimately, Bruce's decision over Mensah's future might well boil down to a judgement call about the centre-half's ability to stay fit next season. The 27-year-old's footballing talents are unarguable, and the majority of Sunderland's best defensive displays this season have come with Mensah in the starting line-up. But the African has suffered from a string of injuries related to an ongoing back problem, and a tally of ten Premier League starts underlines just how difficult it has been to keep him fit. Sunday's 1-1 draw with Manchester City represented his third start in a row though, and Mensah feels Sunderland's medical staff have mastered how to deal with his injury concerns. I have worked very hard with the physios here and I believe I am back now, fit and ready, he said. It has been hard, getting as fit as I can for games without doing much training with the ball. The physios are working hard. Back in France, I used to have a lot of injuries, but they are working hard on keeping me fit and everyone, the players and management, are all keeping me very happy, which is the main thing. While Mensah is hoping to extend his loan deal, Sunderland midfielder Teemu Tainio has hinted he will not be attempting to prolong his stay at Birmingham City. Tainio, on loan at St Andrew's until the end of the season, had previously spoken of winning a permanent deal in the Midlands, but with January signings Craig Gardner and Michel having pushed him down the pecking order, his outlook appears to have changed. I have one more year at Sunderland on my contract, and if the club tell me I am staying (at Wearside), then I stay, said the Finn, who has made only one first-team appearance since mid-November. I am really open-minded on my future. I will just play to the end of the season with Birmingham and hopefully I will get a few more games.''
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