Sunderland manager Simon Grayson has told The Northern Echo that he hopes to keep Didier Ndong at the club, but couldn't completely rule out a move for the midfielder amid links with West Ham United.
The Black Cats have had a mostly positive start to the season, even after losing the likes of Jordan Pickford and Jermain Defoe over the summer, with Grayson's rebuilding job getting off to a good start.
However, Grayson and Sunderland may yet have to fend off interest in one more player, as midfielder Didier Ndong is reportedly attracting interest from West Ham United and Lyon.
Ndong, 23, joined Sunderland from French side Lorient on deadline day last summer, with the Black Cats splashing out a club-record fee to sign the Gabon international - believed to be £13.6million, according to BBC Sport.
The midfielder blew hot and cold for much of last season, but after making a strong start to life in the Championship, he appears to be a wanted man ahead of the transfer deadline.
RMC Sport in France reported on Wednesday that not only are Ligue 1 side Lyon interested in signing Ndong, but West Ham are also pursuing his signature as an alternative to top midfielder William Carvalho of Sporting CP.
Now, Sunderland boss Grayson has told The Northern Echo that he feels Ndong is a key player for his side, and Sunderland subsequently want to keep him at the Stadium of Light.
However, Grayson noted that his quality means he isn't surprised that other clubs are also interested, and he couldn't completely rule out the sale of Ndong, simply stating that 'we will see where that goes' - a possible concern for Sunderland fans.
“Didier is a good player, hence why we paid what we did. He is key player for us. He is young, enthusiastic," said Grayson. "Hence why we want to keep him, like why other clubs are interested in him. We will see where that goes and players coming in as well," he added.