FULHAM are the latest club to be linked with Steed Malbranque after rumoured interest from Blackburn Rovers and QPR in the skilful Sunderland midfielder.
The 31-year-old, in the last year of his contract at the Stadium of Light, is unlikely to be offered a new deal at the Stadium of Light.
And although Black Cats’ boss Steve Bruce has come to respect and rate the Belgium-born playmaker over the last two seasons, he is presiding over a squad in transition and willing to listen to reasonable offers.
The manager knows that with nine signings already this summer and potentially more on the way, he might have to sacrifice one or two of his squad and the likes of Malbranque as well as fellow Roy Keane signings Craig Gordon and Anton Ferdinand are vulnerable.
All three are among the highest earners at the club and if Sunderland could get a fee for Malbranque and his wages off the bill, they would find it hard to turn down.
Fulham boss Martin Jol – who originally signed Malbranque for Spurs in 2006 – knows all about the player’s qualities and is believed to see him as a good short-term replacement for Zoltan Gera, who snubbed a new deal in favour of a move to West Bromwich Albion.
Marlbranque spent five seasons at Craven Cottage before joining Spurs and the chance to finish his playing career in England at the place it started could well appeal.