Lee Cattermole is going nowhere this summer, despite being linked with a return to former club Middlesbrough, the Echo understands.
Sunderland’s longest-serving first-team player was yesterday the subject of speculation over a move back to the Riverside, with reports that newly-promoted Boro are preparing a £5million bid for the midfielder.
There have been whispers for several weeks that Boro would be interested in taking Cattermole back, despite another five years to run on his Sunderland contract.
However, sources close to Cattermole are emphatic that the 28-year-old will be staying put at the Stadium of Light.
Although Cattermole was a boyhood Boro fan and came through the ranks at the club before joining Wigan in 2008, he is very happy with life at Sunderland and is optimistic about the future for the Black Cats.
Cattermole believes that, with Sam Allardyce and his coaching staff now at the helm, Sunderland can end the pattern of annual relegation fights and secure a solid mid-table finish.
Allardyce was equally full of praise for Cattermole’s contribution to Sunderland’s survival too, after he became the manager’s most influential figure in the dressing room and produced several telling performances during the run-in.
Boro chairman Steve Gibson remains a fan of Cattermole, after admitting last month that letting him join Wigan in 2008 was one of his biggest mistakes.
The Stockton-born midfielder made his debut for Boro aged just 17.
Gibson said: “Lee was quite a character and needed to be managed quite strongly and I wish we never let Lee go, and one or two others we perhaps shouldn’t have let go at that time.”
But Allardyce is already looking to bring in one central midfielder after the departure of on-loan Ola Toivonen, plus doubts over Seb Larsson’s future.
As the Echo reported earlier this week, Sunderland target Clement Chantome is in talks over a Bosman move with two Premier League clubs after rejecting a new deal at Bordeaux.
Sunderland are also bidding to bring Yann M’Vila back to the Stadium of Light after the Frenchman’s hugely successful season-long loan from Rubin Kazan.