Jack Colback has postponed a decision over his Sunderland future until he comes back from his honeymoon next month.
The Black Cats midfielder is being tracked by Newcastle United, but Sunderland have signalled their determination to keep him at the Stadium of Light and he has asked for more time to assess his options.
Colback is one of three out-of-contract players whom the Black Cats want to keep at the Stadium of Light, with Sunderland having also offered Seb Larsson and Phil Bardsley new deals to stay on Wearside.
The Black Cats want to tie up deals for all three but Colback, who was intending to make a decision quickly, is going to bide his time before deciding where to play his football next year.
Newcastle’s interest is a major complicating factor for the Tyneside-born Colback, who is fully aware of how controversial making that move would be.
Sunderland could have tied him down to a long-term deal last summer but their offers back then were much less than the deals on the table now.
Colback will now take further advice after his wedding, fully aware that the interest from West Ham, Swansea, Aston Villa and the Magpies means he will not be short of Premier League options moving forward.
Former Sunderland chief scout Bryan ‘Pop’ Robson has warned the midfielder it will be a difficult move to make if he decides to swap the Stadium of Light for St James’ Park.
He is one of a number of players who played for both teams and made a success of it but Colback would be the first for 17 years to make the direct swap.
“He is a tidy player – a very good player for Sunderland and I think he has really come on in the last couple of season,” Robson told The Journal.
“It is a difficult move for him to go from Sunderland to Newcastle because he will have to prove himself to Newcastle supporters and Sunderland fans will obviously not be happy. It is a big decision.”
As Colback ponders a longer stay at Sunderland, Craig Gardner has signalled his determination to make a success of his switch to West Brom.
The midfielder spent four years on Wearside and was part of the squad that secured Gus Poyet’s “miracle” but he is clearly feeling at home back in the West Midlands.
“It’s a pleasure to be here,” he said. “It’s a great club. I’ve got a lot of friends here and I’m just buzzing that I’m back at home in the Midlands where I enjoy my football the most and feel I play my best football.
“I was linked with West Brom previously and I was just praying it happened this time. Now eventually it has I’m over the moon.
“People say you have to be happy at home to be happy in your job – and when you’ve got your friends and family around you encouraging and supporting you then that’s when you’ll play your best football.”