Sunderland face competition from West Ham for both Jack Colback and Seb Larsson, the only two of their out-of-contract players they have designs on keeping at the Stadium of Light.
The release of the Premier League’s retained list confirmed that goalkeepers Keiren Westwood and Oscar Ustari, who only joined on a short-term deal in January, have both left along with Carlos Cuellar and Italian left-back Andrea Dossena, who was a disastrous late recruit to the squad.
But it is Larsson and Colback whom the club are now facing a fight to keep hold of, with the winger having been offered a deal by the Hammers to join Sam Allardyce’s side.
The Black Cats are also battling to keep Colback at the club after he opted to delay a decision on his future until after his honeymoon following offers from Swansea, the Hammers and Newcastle for his services.
Sunderland’s summer refresh is set to be a significant one. They released 12 in all and will hope to sell on several more, which follows Craig Gardner’s departure for West Brom and Phil Bardsley’s decision to move to Stoke on Thursday. As well as releasing a slew of senior players, Sunderland have allowed Louis Laing, Jordan Laidler, John Egan, Billy Knott, Alex Gorrin and Jordan Watson to leave. None were offered deals and are now attempting to fix themselves up with new clubs.
One player who does want to play a significant role for the Black Cats next season is Italian international Emanuele Giaccherini, who started to find his feet in the latter stages of the season.
He has been linked with a move back to Serie A but says he wants to stay: “Honestly, my future, it’s still too early to think about it because I am on vacation. After two years travelling around the world I’m spending a few days at rest.
“For the future, who knows – certainly my intention is to stay at Sunderland. I’ll talk with the coach when the time comes to hear his thoughts and understand my role. I have a three-year contract and I want to stay in the Premier League with this shirt.”
Reports in Spain claimed Alfred N’Diaye – who has been on loan at Real Betis – has told Sunderland that he wants to leave.