Sunderland are quietly confident of tying Lee Cattermole down to a new contract this summer.
Cattermole is about to enter the final 12 months of his deal at the Stadium of Light, with the Black Cats yet to reach an agreement over prolonging the 27-year-old’s time on Wearside.
Sunderland are hopeful of agreeing a fresh contract with Cattermole over the coming weeks to extend his stint as the club’s longest-serving first-teamer
There have been initial talks over recent months with Cattermole and his representative, but the uncertainty over the influential midfielder’s future has prompted talk of a move elsewhere.
Stoke City were linked with a fresh interest in Cattermole two months ago after coming desperately close to signing him in January 2014.
But it is understood that Sunderland are hopeful of agreeing a fresh contract with Cattermole over the coming weeks to extend his stint as the club’s longest-serving first-teamer.
Despite the absence of a head coach, Sunderland are well aware of Cattermole’s influence on the side and have made it a priority this summer to secure the ex-Middlesbrough man’s future at the club.
Certainly, Cattermole is by far the likeliest of those players entering the final year of their contracts to agree fresh terms, with Steven Fletcher, Adam Johnson and Danny Graham all in the same boat.
Johnson’s future is on ice until the outcome of his legal case, with the winger going on trial on August 24 after denying three counts of sexual activity with a child under 16, and an offence of grooming, at a hearing yesterday.
Fletcher and Graham, meanwhile, could both be offloaded this summer if Sunderland receive any suitable offers.
Graham has struggled to attract suitors over the last couple of years when Sunderland have been looking to move him on, but the 29-year-old stood out in making a key contribution to the Black Cats’ escape from the drop.
Fletcher is more likely to depart after the frontman has netted just eight times in a Sunderland shirt over the last two seasons.
The Scottish international, who cost Sunderland £12million from Wolves three years ago, has been linked with a move away throughout his time at the Stadium of Light, including persistent rumours over a return north of the border with Celtic.