Sunderland offer contract to in-demand free agent striker - reports

Sunderland have offered a contract to Lawrence Shankland - according to reports
Sunderland have offered a contract to Lawrence Shankland - according to reports

Sunderland have offered a contract to free agent striker Lawrence Shankland, according to reports.

The former Ayr United striker, who netted 34 times last season, has long been linked with the Black Cats after his stunning form in front of goal brought him to the attention of Jack Ross.

And a report from the Scottish Sun now claims that Sunderland have made their interest in the frontman concrete – by offering him a deal.

Shankland would be available to sign without a fee this summer, but Ross will face intense competition if he is to land the prolific Scottish star.

Portsmouth, Rangers, Celtic and Swansea City have all been credited with an interest in the 24-year-old in recent months.

More recently, the likes of Hull City, Nottingham Forest and Hearts are thought to have shot the striker some admiring glances.

But this latest report suggests that the Black Cats are in the driving seat after offering terms – with Sunderland and Hearts the two sides who have made contact thus far.

A decision may not be forthcoming immediately, though, with the striker currently on holiday and unlikely to make a decision until he returns.

Sunderland have also been linked once more with Stewart Downing, with the winger believed to be weighing-up offers from a number of clubs after leaving Middlesbrough.