CONNOR Wickham is scheduled to hold talks with Gus Poyet over his future – with his loan deal at Sheffield Wednesday expiring next week.
The Owls have made no secret of their desire to keep Wickham on loan for the rest of the campaign after the 20-year-old has proved to be an overwhelming success in his second spell at Hillsborough, with eight goals in 11 games.
There has been speculation that Wickham could also be a target for a permanent move to Championship pair Nottingham Forest and Burnley, although Wednesday are the only side to have been in talks with Sunderland.
And Poyet plans to speak with Wickham, whose loan has already been extended for a month, before deciding whether to let the England Under-21 international stay at Wednesday or return to the Stadium of Light.
“I’m going to talk with him next week,” Poyet told the Gazette. “I was in touch with him before when there was some of his loan to go.
“But now that his loan is going to finish next week, I need to have another conversation with him. Like a lot of players, he’s one where there’s been 150,000 rumours about him.
“But in reality, he’s our player and he’s been on loan at Sheffield Wednesday. Nothing more. The rest is all rumours.”
Wednesday remain without a permanent manager, although caretaker boss Stuart Gray is expected to be confirmed in that role before the weekend.
Gray is a big fan of Wickham, and desperately wants to keep the £8m frontman, despite calls from Sunderland fans that he should be recalled by the Black Cats, with fellow strikers Jozy Altidore and Steven Fletcher netting just five between them all season.
Meanwhile, Sunderland midfielder David Vaughan – whose loan spell at Nottingham Forest also expires next week – is expected to complete a permanent move to the City Ground this month.
The Gazette understands that Forest are confident a deal will be struck for the Welsh international, who has just six months left on his Sunderland contract.
Vaughan’s departure would represent another saving on Sunderland’s wage bill after the exits of Ji Dong-won and Cabral.