Zenden weighs up his summer options
AFTER signing off from his Sunderland career in style, Bolo Zenden last night strongly refuted claims from manager Steve Bruce that he already has his next club lined up. Zenden insists he does want to leave the Black Cats, but felt he was left with little option after failing to command a regular starting role. With Bruce reluctant to offer him a more prominent spot next season, the 34-yearold has outlined a determination to head for pastures new. Staying in the Premier League is his preferred choice and Bruce cheekily suggested in the build up to his final match at Upton Park that Zenden is likely to have something up his sleeve. But Zenden, who admits he does have options including a return to first club PSV Eindhoven, has rubbished any notion he already knows where he will be playing next season. There is a little bit of interest, but despite what has been said I have not signed anywhere, said Zenden. I am open to negotiations to plan my future. At times it is difficult for people to understand when I have not signed anywhere else. There is an old saying don't throw old shoes away when you have new ones', that is the same with me. I have not signed anywhere and we will see. He added: Football is football, you never know what might happen, it could change, but as I stand here this was my last game for Sunderland. It would appear highly unlikely that Bruce would have a last minute change of heart and Zenden is not prepared to consider his boss having such a turnaround. He has made just 11 Premier League starts since moving from Marseille as a free agent, despite the fact his appearance at Upton Park was his 50th appearance for the club in two seasons. My manager wanted me to stay, especially chairman Niall Quinn and the owner, Ellis Short, said Zenden. They were desperate for me to sign a new deal and I played the last four games which is what I wanted. It is easy for the manager to say he wants me to stay. The other thing is he should have given me more game time. I was not happy enough. I can make a difference when I play. Because of the last few games people think everything was fine, but I only played because of injuries. I deserved to play when we were not doing well. I have made up my mind, I don't want to go through the whole process again. Zenden has, though, reaffirmed his belief he can still play in the Premier League and feels his goalscoring display in the 3-0 win at Upton Park helped to prove his point. I have two or three years left at the highest level, said Zenden. I never asked to start week in and week out, but when the chance came up because of injuries I should have been given a chance. It didn't happen. I am hopeful the future holds something special. It is nice to look back but nice to look forward too. I have eight years in the Premier League and two in France so it shows how much I enjoy it here. Bruce will meet Short, the American billionaire, later today to discuss the club's summer transfer plans and to reflect on this season's performance. The Sunderland boss is looking for eight or nine new players and is expected to quickly step up efforts to land free agents Seb Larsson and David Vaughan following Birmingham and Blackpool's relegation. He is also keen on adding striker Jay Bothroyd Cardiff yesterday confirmed he will leave this summer while Manchester City's former Newcastle forward Craig Bellamy and Blackpool's Dudley Campbell are also options. It helps Bruce's cause that he led Sunderland to a top ten finish despite a severe injury crisis that had threatened relegation at one point. It is fantastic for the fans to finish above Newcastle the main objective was to finish in the top ten, said Zenden. We had a very difficult spell and we finished off in good style. It's been good to be a part of. Finishing tenth is a massive achievement for the club, it's been a while. I hope I left a good impression with the fans and I hope they appreciated me because I appreciated them. I hope they don't forget me.
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