STOKE CITY have ruled out reviving their interest in Sunderland midfielder Lee Cattermole this summer.
Last weekend’s opponents Stoke came within a whisker of signing Cattermole in a £5million deal back in January 2014, only for Sunderland to pull the plug on the move during the final hours of transfer deadline day.
That’s an area of the pitch where we’ve got strength in depth.Mark Bowen
Reports earlier this month indicated that Stoke were ready to make a fresh bid to land Cattermole at the end of the season, when the 27-year-old will be entering the final 12 months of his contract at the Stadium of Light.
But when asked about the Cattermole speculation, Potters assistant boss Mark Bowen says Stoke are not in the market to strengthen their central midfield options in the summer.
“That’s an area of the pitch where we’ve got strength in depth,” said Bowen.
While Stoke may be out of the running to end Cattermole’s six-year stint at Sunderland, it won’t necessarily end the uncertainty over the Teessider’s future at the Stadium of Light.
Sunderland had engaged in provisional talks over a new contract for Cattermole earlier this season, but the club’s precarious place in the relegation dogfight has inevitably put negotiations on ice.
But if they remain in the Premier League, Sunderland will be eager to tie Cattermole down to a fresh deal and fend off interest from elsewhere after the ex-Wigan man has been one of the Black Cats’ most influential performers this season.
Certainly, Cattermole is the most likely of those Sunderland players approaching the final year of their contracts to pen new terms.
Adam Johnson’s future is uncertain after the winger was charged with three counts of sexual activity with a child under 16 and one of grooming last week.
And strikers Danny Graham and Steven Fletcher could both depart in the summer if Sunderland receive suitable offers, with the pair netting just four goals between them this season.