KIERAN Richardson’s future lies in his own hands today, with Fulham having offered, and Sunderland having accepted, a bid for his services.
The 27-year-old informed the club before the end of last season that he was looking to return home to London after five years in the North East and has been linked with various clubs in the capital.
But Fulham have now firmed up their interest and it will come down to the player himself now to decide whether to move to Craven Cottage or see out the final year of his Stadium of Light contract.
Manager Martin O’Neill will look to sign a replacement if Richardson is sold though, with Tottenham’s Danny Rose still on Sunderland’s radar.
O’Neill confirmed: “Fulham have made an offer and we, as a club, have accepted that.
“It gives Kieran a chance to find out for himself if this is what he wants.
“If it doesn’t materialise and he comes back to us, then we’ll be pleased. But if he does go, then left-back is a position we will need to look at.
“The very fact that Jack Colback can play there and play there well is great, but, if Kieran goes, we will look to strengthen there.
“Jack had a stuttery pre-season, but that didn’t bother me because I knew he’d be OK in the season itself and he was very good as left-back at Arsenal until he started to tire a little in the second half.
“He can do a good job there. But if Kieran does leave, I do feel we have to look at the left-back situation.”
The Echo revealed yesterday that Richardson had moved significantly closer to the exit door at Sunderland and things moved on apace during the course of the day.
Ahmed Elmohamady is likely to depart, too – as we predicted – probably on a season-long loan.
Steve Bruce’s Hull City the favourites to clinch the Egyptian’s signature.
O’Neill also confirmed that a host of clubs are queueing up to take £8million striker Connor Wickham on loan.
But the manager says he will wait until his own plans are complete before deciding who might leave.
“Loads of teams have asked about Connor and loads have asked about a number of our players, so I’ll see,” he said.
“I’m aware that on Saturday morning, after the transfer window has close, that is it for us for the remainder of the year.
“So I just need to be careful not to leave the club short.”