The latest on Luke O'Nien's Sunderland future as Championship clubs circle
Hull City are interested in signing Luke O'Nien as the Sunderland defender weighs up his future.
However, the Tigers are one of a number of Championship clubs interested in the 27-year-old and the Hull Daily Mail report that the League One title winners expect him to move elsewhere.
Hull fear the interest from elsewhere means that O'Nien will not fit into their strict wage structure.
After three excellent campaigns on Wearside, Sunderland are keen to secure O'Nien to a new deal and a key role in Lee Johnson's squad.
O'Nien was an integral part of the Black Cats' push for automatic promotion last season, forming an unlikely but hugely effective partnership at centre- back with Dion Sanderson when an injury crisis hit Johnson's defence.
The Head Coach was eager to secure a new deal, believing that O'Nien could have a big role to play in his attempts to implement an aggressive, high-pressing style.
O'Nien is a popular figure with supporters and his own affection for the club is well known.
He know has a crucial decision to make as he decides where his long-term development is best served. The versatile performer wants to test himself at Championship level but may yet decide that his best chance of doing that successfully is by staying at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland are yet to make their first summer signing and the future of O'Nien, as well as Aiden McGeady, Charlie Wyke an Denver Hume, will have a significant impact on their plans.
While Wyke is widely expected to depart the club, McGeady is understood to be close to agreeing a new deal and the Black Cats hope that Denver Hume will follow suit.
Johnson has spoken previously of the importance of players such as O'Nien and Lynden Gooch, whose versatility could allow him to manage a smaller squad next season.
With only two senior central midfielders under contract, and no senior right backs, O'Nien's departure would leave significant gaps to fill should it come to pass.
O'Nien made 45 appearances across all competitions last season as he again underlined his durability and importance to the squad.