Outcast Jack Rodwell will have his wages slashed by 40% this summer – regardless of which division Sunderland play in.
Rodwell – the Black Cats’ highest paid player on £70,000 per week – was the only player in the squad relegated from the Premier League not to have his wages cut last summer.
But the Echo has learned that his cut, deferred under the terms of his contract, kicks in this summer, with his wage packet dropping to £42,000 a week – if he remains on Wearside.
That figure is still eye-watering and Sunderland will again have to look to move on the former Everton and Manchester City midfielder, who last played any football for the club in February when he turned out for the Under-23s.
While Rodwell did not have a pay cut last summer, the rest of the squad all had 40 per cent cuts to their salaries ahead of the 2017-18 Championship campaign, a season which has again seen Sunderland involved in a relegation battle.
If Sunderland do suffer successive relegations then it is understood that there will be pay cuts, similar to the percentage drop last year, for several members of the current squad.
The Echo understands the wage cut would affect the contracts of those players signed since relegation from the Premier League, including the likes of Jason Steele and Callum McManaman.
The wage cut would also affect any players to have signed new contracts in the past year, it is understood.
However, should the worst happen and the club be relegated into the third tier then not every player would face another cut, the Echo has learned.
We understand those who had wages slashed by 40 per cent following relegation from the Premier League won’t be in line for additional cuts, including the likes of high earners Lee Cattermole and Lamine Kone.
Cash-strapped Sunderland are braced for a major summer rebuild, regardless of which division the club is playing in next season, with a big turnover of players expected.
There are four players out of contract – skipper John O’Shea, Billy Jones, Marc Wilson and Kazenga LuaLua – while the seven loan players will all be returning to their parent clubs.
Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Reading, the Black Cats are six points from safety with only four games to go, with League One football on the cards.
It means there are certain to be big changes this summer in terms of revamping the Sunderland squad.
Rodwell will be one of the players the club will be desperate to move on.
Sunderland have been battling against relegation, but Rodwell, still only 27, has made just three first-team appearances all season, his last coming in September.
He has a year left on his Sunderland contract.
If, as appears increasingly likely, the Red and Whites are relegated then there is no appetite to have a player on the books, on that level of wages, not contributing to the first team.
The midfielder doesn’t have a future at Sunderland and has been an outcast since it was revealed that the club offered to tear up his deal and offer him a free transfer to get him off the books.
In an interview with the Daily Mail, Rodwell said he would only walk away from his lucrative contract if a move to a new club was lined up.
In January, £10million flop Rodwell turned down the chance of a January move to an unnamed club.
He was training with the Under-23s at one stage and has been receiving treatment for an ankle injury.
Rodwell attempted to reinvent himself as a centre-back earlier this season, turning out in defence for Elliott Dickman’s Under-23s in the Checkatrade Trophy.