Sunderland players in contract limbo set to learn fate
One of Jack Ross' first tasks as Sunderland manager will be to determine the future of the soon-to-be out of contract players.
Four senior players have been in limbo since the end of the season following Chris Coleman’s sacking by Ellis Short ahead of Stewart Donald’s £40million takeover.
Ross’ appointment is expected to be confirmed today and the former St Mirren chief will get to work on shaping his squad when he returns from holiday next week.
Skipper John O’Shea, 37, Marc Wilson, Billy Jones and Kazenga LuaLua are out of contract this summer, their deals expiring at the end of June.
With League One Sunderland undergoing major changes on and off the pitch it would be a surprise if any of the four players were kept on but O’Shea has already expressed his desire to remain on Wearside.
Speaking earlier this month, O’Shea – set to retire from international football this summer – said: “For the moment, my contract is up in June and I want to continue playing for another season.
“Where it will be, we will have to wait and see, and we will see what happens with things at Sunderland, but, yes, I would like to stay.
“There are so many good people at the club, great supporters, amazing travelling support who always turn up in great numbers away from home, no matter how things are going.”
Young defender Tom Beadling, 22, was also out of contract this summer but moved quickly to secure his future, agreeing a two-year deal with Scottish Championship side Dunfermline Athletic, where he enjoyed a loan spell last season.
Donald was keen to appoint a new manager quickly following his takeover to give them the best possible chance of leading the promotion charge back to the Championship next season.
The Sunderland squad is set for a major overall and will be almost unrecognisable from the squad that finished bottom of the Championship.
The seven loan players from last season left after the Wolves game, with the future of the four senior players in the final weeks of their contracts to be decided soon.
High earners Lee Cattermole, Wahbi Khazri, Papy Djilobodji, Didier Ndong, Lamine Kone and Jack Rodwell could all leave Wearside with their wages too high for League One, as Donald & Co aim to make the club fully sustainable.