John O’Shea is set to extend his Sunderland stay into a seventh season.
The 36-year-old, whose current contract expires at the end of June, has attracted interest from four Championship rivals, including Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Despite the ongoing uncertainty regarding the managerial and ownership situation on Wearside, the Irish international is expected to put pen to paper on a new 12 month deal to stay at the Stadium of Light.
O’Shea signalled his intention to stay in the immediate aftermath of the club’s relegation but insisted that the decision would be out of his hands.
He said: “I’ve really enjoyed being here every year.
“It’s a great place and the people around the place, the club, the Sunderland family outside and inside, whether at the training ground or Black Cats House, the decency amongst the people is very special and it’s something I definitely want to continue with, but it’s not up to me.”
Sunderland’s hierarchy were eager to keep the experienced centre-half to provide much needed continuity heading into the new season. A plethora of players will leave Wearside this summer and former boss David Moyes said he felt he would have to look to keep on one or two players ‘who know the club’. Having made more Premier League appearances than any other player in Sunderland’s history, O’Shea certainly fits the bill in that regard.
With Lamine Kone likely to move on this summer, Jason Denayer returning to Manchester City and Joleon Lescott released at the end of his short-term deal, the Black Cats are light on options at the heart of defence.
Papy Djilobodji is the only other senior centre-half in the squad, but struggled after his summer move from Chelsea and has already hinted that he will look for a move himself this summer.
As such O’Shea’s decision will be a welcome boost to Martin Bain with pre-season and the Championship season drawing ever closer.
George Honeyman signed a two-year deal earlier in the summer and of those out of contract, Seb Larsson is another to have been offered a new deal. Amid interest from the Championship, Premier League and European top leagues, however, it is not yet clear whether the Swedish international will choose to stay.
Steven Pienaar is certain to leave, while Jan Kirchhoff is also set to end his 18-month stay on Wearside.
Two Premier League clubs as well as a host of Bundesliga clubs have approached the 26-year-old.