SUNDERLAND are considering making an improved bid for Cardiff’s Jordon Mutch after entering into negotiations for the midfielder.
Relegated Cardiff rubbished reports a month ago that Mutch was heading to the Stadium of Light in a £1.5million switch and insisted that they hadn’t received any offers for the 22-year-old.
But the Echo understands that Sunderland have subsequently seen a firm bid of around £3.5m rejected by the Bluebirds, for a player who is about to enter the final 12 months of his contract at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Sunderland must now decide whether to up their offer for Mutch, who is thought to be alongside Fabio Borini and Ashley Williams as one of the main targets on the Black Cats’ summer shopping list.
There is a suggestion that there is a buy-out clause in Mutch’s contract – as there is with Cardiff team-mates Fraizer Campbell, Steven Caulker and Gary Medel – and the Welsh outfit will not accept anything less than that figure.
Certainly, Derby-born Mutch fits Sunderland’s brief of targeting players with Premier League experience, despite the Birmingham City academy product suffering the drop with Cardiff.
The attacking midfielder netted seven times during an impressive maiden campaign in the top flight, including the opening goal when he shone during the 2-2 draw against Sunderland in December.
But Cardiff boss Ole Gunnar Solsjkaer is very much planning for life with Mutch next season, as he looks to secure an instant return to the Premier League.
Unlike Campbell, Caulker, Medel and ex-Sunderland striker Kenwyne Jones, Cardiff have not accepted that losing Mutch will be part of the price of relegation.
They are determined to keep him at the club, along with goalkeeper David Marshall, who also earned a host of plaudits last season.
Chairman Mehmet Dalman made that crystal clear a month ago when he addressed the speculation over the England Under-21 international.
“We have not received any bids for Jordon and he is in our manager’s plans for next season,” said Dalman.
“Jordon is a Cardiff City player and that will not change.”
Meanwhile, Sunderland Under-21s will travel to Scotland to take on Partick Thistle in a pre-season friendly on Wednesday, August 6 (kick-off 7.30pm).
It is the fourth warm-up game for Kevin Ball’s side, who have already finalised friendlies against Spennymoor, Gateshead and Boston United.