John O’Shea quickly quashed rumours of his retirement, but his Sunderland future remains uncertain.
It is that way with many of the players in Chris Coleman’s squad.
Yet again, another significant summer rebuild will be required, regardless of whether Sunderland beat the drop this season or not.
Coleman has been clear that he hopes to see a change of ownership this summer, but, while clarity is still lacking, he has begun to draw up plans for what needs to be done.
He admits to being ‘excited’ by the challenge and hopes for the opportunity to put his own ‘model’ in place.
Last week, he was out scouting at the League One fixture between Shrewsbury and AFC Wimbledon, and work on recruitment continues at pace.
He said: “The club, at the minute, you can look at it two ways. With a lot of players out of contract or on loan, it is quite daunting, but then maybe there is a chance to start something fresh, with new faces.
“We’ve not got to the stage of talking to any player about their future yet. They all know the here and now is too important.
“We’ll discuss things at the end of the season, but maybe we can start to rebuild and replenish.
“The days here where we can go out and spend large amounts of money on individual players, and throw a team together are gone.
“We’re going to have to do a lot more planning, the ins and outs of every player we sign – their personality, their history, both mentally and physically.
“We’ll try to build something that will last, not just a model for six months or so. It can be quite exciting, looking at it that way.
“Of course, there could be a new owner who has new ideas, wants new faces right across the board. But for me, I know what needs to be put in place.
“We’ve been looking tirelessly at players that will suit us in the long-term.
“We had to sign loan players in January, we had no choice, but it is hard to build long-term that way.
“Successful clubs, though, are built with certain players and personalities, not seven or eight loan players. You need a foundation.”
Coleman has not shirked the relegation question and, with Sunderland still five points adrift of safety, League One football is a clear possibility.
The Black Cats boss has not given up hope of a late escape from trouble, but says, if the worst occurs, the club must turn it into a positive, starting from scratch and building something sustainable.
He said: “No one wants to talk about relegation because it means failure.
“It’s not nice. But you can come back from it.
“Of course we don’t want it this season, but, either way, we have got to come back better.
“Whatever point we start from next season, we have to use it to the best of our ability.
“If it is the one below, we have to have to come back from it, turn it into a positive, though, of course, we don’t want that.”