Sunderland boss a fan of Ben Alnwick but no formal talks have taken place

Sunderland are casting their net far and wide in their search for Jon McLaughlin’s replacement.

Phil Parkinson has made it clear to the club’s recruitment team that he wishes to bring in a further stopper to challenge Lee Burge – who looks set to start the season as Sunderland’s number one.

And the Black Cats’ boss is currently considering a number of potential goalkeeping options as he bids to strengthen his squad.

Academy graduate Ben Alnwick is one name who has been heavily linked with the club this summer, with Parkinson known to be a fond admirer of the ‘keeper – with the duo having worked together at Bolton Wanderers.

The latest on Sunderland's goalkeeping hunt - and those Ben Alnwick rumours

Indeed, Alnwick was training at the Academy of Light at the turn of the year and sources close to the player have told the Echo that he is one of the names on Parkinson’s radar this summer.

However, it is understood that he is not the only goalkeeping target being pursued by Sunderland this summer, and has not yet held any form of formal discussion with the club.

It is near-certain though, that whether Alnwick or another target, Parkinson will be recruiting another senior stopper this summer.

Speaking after McLaughlin’s departure, the Sunderland boss said: “We had already started thinking about possible targets just in case.

“We need to bring in another senior goalkeeper as cover and competition for Lee Burge and we will press on with that.”

Youngster Anthony Patterson, who penned a new one-year contract last month, is likely to head out on loan.