David Moyes has criticised Roberto de Fanti after he said Vito Mannone and Fabio Borini were 'destined' to leave the club should they be relegated this season.
De Fanti was Director of Football at Sunderland for a short period of time in late 2013, overseeing a disastrous summer of recruitment with manager Paolo di Canio.
He left the club in January 2014 but continues to work as an agent and represents both Black Cats players.
His comments came after he revealed earlier this year that both players could have left the club in January.
He recently added: "We say that unfortunately the relegation of Sunderland is near and with it the most important players are destined to leave the club including Vito and Fabio,
"They were most important for the club and helped also in historic days - semi-finals and a final at Wembley and won numerous derbies with Newcastle.”
Moyes was left unimpressed with the remarks, saying: "Well the first thing I would say is that it is wrong for any agent to talk about players while they are under contract. I think it is someone who, we know who we’re talking about [and their history], you’d think that would mean they would even more respect [for Sunderland]. While your player is in contract, it isn’t a breach of contract but it certainly isn’t what you’d think is the correct way for an agent to be talking about players under contract at the club."
Sunderland are set for an unprecedented summer of upheaval with relegation a near certainty, a number of players linked with moves.
Borini has been linked with a return to Italy as well as Celtic, managed by Brendan Rodgers. He has worked with the Northern Irishman three times previously, and also knows former Sunderland Director of Football Lee Congerton, who know holds the head of recruitment position at the Glasgow giants.
Mannone meanwhile has been linked with moves to Atalanta, Genoa and Watford, having fallen behind Jordan Pickford in the pecking order this season.
Moyes reiterated his January stance that players will not be sold on the cheap.
He said: "Of course we’ve got players out of contract, but the ones being talked about [in the press] are not.
"As you know we’ve got about 10 players roughly who are out of contract, and we’ll deal with them when the time comes around, I think that they’ll be important than the players being talked about under contract. If they are [on the move] we’ll be looking for a lot of money for them, unless there’s something in their contract."