The former Manchester United and Burnley defender could well be on his way to Derby County in League One.
Reports state that the Rams have deals in place for Tom Barkhuizen, Bardsley and Michael Ihiekwe but can’t confirm the transfers until a takeover has been completed.
Derby were relegated from the Championship last season and remain without an owner. The club have been in administration since September and have already seen one prospective deal collapse this summer.
Championship news: Ex-£8m Sunderland midfielder favourite for Birmingham City job despite little experience
Sunderland AFC news: Ex-Black Cats, Middlesbrough, Huddersfield Town and Stoke City man makes Turkey switch
Nine strikers Sunderland could try to sign this summer - including Leeds United, Aston Villa and Tottenham youngsters
Sunderland AFC transfer rumours: Cats face more competition for target as former West Ham and Manchester United man becomes free agent
Sunderland AFC transfer news: Ex-Cats and Arsenal man available on free as Jordan Jones linked with Kilmarnock
But Bardsley, 36, is now a free agent following Burnley’s relegation to the Championship at the end of last season, with Rooney reportedly eyeing a deal to bring his former teammate to Derby.
When asked whether or not Sunderland should be considering a move to bring Bardsley back to Wearside, supporters had this to say on social media:
John Goymer: “No. We should never have let him leave.”
Ian Blake: “Great servant to the club…. Let’s not do a Defoe! Past has gone, need fresh blood.”
@MichaelBowers15: “If we were still in League One, maybe. But not for the Championship.”
@philipluke1987: “The only exception I’d make to that is Vito Mannone. Keeper his age is still in his prime. Would be a good keeper for Patterson to work alongside.”
@FaustoTartini: “If we’ve built our scouting correctly it shouldn’t rely exclusively on players offered to us for free and players that have played for us before! It’s an error ridden path we’ve passed through a lot! So it’s a no from me”