LEE CATTERMOLE is not expected to depart the Stadium of Light imminently, despite the midfielder being linked with a £2.5million switch to Fulham.
The Cottagers have emerged as the most serious suitors for Cattermole so far this summer, with Sunderland’s willingness to part company with their skipper becoming increasingly clear.
Premier League new boys Hull City have been linked with Cattermole for several weeks, but ex-Black Cats boss Steve Bruce is not thought to be keen on taking the 25-year-old to the KC Stadium.
Fulham are a far more viable proposition, yet any talks are still at a preliminary stage, with Cattermole not thought to be on the verge of leaving the club.
Cattermole has resumed full training at the Academy of Light this week after knee ligament damage restricted him to just an hour of first-team football in 2013.
But as the Echo reported last week, Paolo Di Canio has refused to confirm whether Cattermole has a future at the club and the player is braced for the exit door.
Sunderland realise though that the problem with offloading Cattermole is his wages after he only penned a new three-year contract at the Stadium of Light in October.
Given his injury record during his four year stay on Wearside too, Sunderland face an uphill task to sell a player who is yet to feature under Di Canio.
If Cattermole does make the move to Craven Cottage, he could be part of a contingent of ex-Sunderland players.
Kieran Richardson made the move to West London last summer, while Fulham are now firm favourites to sign Darren Bent from Aston Villa, with Newcastle reportedly now out of the running.
Fulham remain the likeliest destination for Cattermole’s Sunderland team-mate Phil Bardsley too.
Bardsley has been forced to train with the club’s Under-21s throughout pre-season, yet the Cottagers are still keen to land the full-back in a cut-price deal.