Derby County are NOT in the hunt for Sunderland midfielder Liam Bridcutt.
Speculation over the weekend suggested Derby were preparing a £2million offer for Bridcutt, to continue their summer spending spree after new Rams boss Paul Clement has already brought in five fresh faces, including ex-Sunderland striker Darren Bent.
It is understood that Sunderland would be willing to offload Bridcutt if they received a suitable bid for his services
But reports in the Midlands have played down the link and indicated that Bridcutt is not among Derby’s list of targets, even if there remain doubts over the 26-year-old’s future at Sunderland.
Bridcutt started just one of Dick Advocaat’s nine games in charge at the end of last season - the goalless draw in the final home encounter against Leicester, when he suffered an ankle injury and was withdrawn after an hour.
It is understood that Sunderland would be willing to offload Bridcutt if they received a suitable bid for his services after the defensive midfielder had been a favourite of ex-head coach Gus Poyet.
But Sunderland would be looking to recoup a sizeable portion of the £2.5million they spent to bring Bridcutt from Poyet’s former club Brighton in January 2014.
The same is likely to apply to Bridcutt’s Sunderland team-mate and ex-Brighton colleague Will Buckley, who was also reunited with Poyet at the Stadium of Light last summer.
Buckley made a sporadic impact during an injury-hit first season at Sunderland after his £2.5million move, but like Bridcutt, there are still question marks over his Premier League credentials.
The winger returned from injury during Advocaat’s reign at the end of the campaign and was handed a start at Stoke City.
But Buckley was hauled off at the interval and only featured once more under the Dutchman, as a substitute in the draw at Arsenal which secured Sunderland’s Premier League survival.
And while Sunderland are focused on further new recruits after the signings of Sebastian Coates and Adam Matthews, sporting director Lee Congerton is also looking to offload those considered surplus to requirements.
El-Hadji Ba joined Championship Charlton last week, while Valentin Roberge and Charis Mavrias are also expected to depart.