Sunderland open contract talks with four key players as Lee Johnson sets out squad plans
Sunderland have announced that seven senior players will depart the club when their contracts expire this summer.
They include team and club captain’s Grant Leadbitter and Max Power.
Chris Maguire, Conor McLaughlin, Remi Matthews, Callum McFadzean and Josh Scowen will all also depart later next month.
The club have confirmed that they hope to retain Charlie Wyke, Luke O’Nien, Aiden McGeady and Denver Hume, all of whom have been offered fresh terms to extend their stay on Wearside.
Youngster Ollie Younger, who has thrived in the U23 set up this season, is also under contract for another year.
Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman praised the departing players for their part in the Papa John’s Trophy win, and said that the club had been forced to make some ‘tough decisions’.
“We would like to place on record our appreciation to the players who will be leaving the club this summer,” he said.
"Although we have been unable to achieve our core objective, they were instrumental in bringing silverware back to Wearside and we wish each of them every success in the next stage of their careers. We have had to make some tough decisions, but we firmly believe they are in the best interests of Sunderland AFC in the long term.”
Lee Johnson thanked all of those released for their ‘endeavours and commitment’, and said there are many reasons to be optimistic about the club’s future.
“The players have worked extremely hard this season in very difficult circumstances and their reward for that was a trophy-winning season and a Play-Off spot,” he said.
"We are all disappointed we couldn’t achieve our ultimate goal of winning League One, but we thank the players for their endeavours and commitment and we will always welcome them back to the football club with open arms.
"As we look to a new dawn, there are many reasons to be optimistic about our future as we continue to rebuild the football club.”
The decisions leave Sunderland with twelve senior players under contract, as well as a host of talented youngsters in Benji Kimpioka, Josh Hawkes and Anthony Patterson.
Dion Sanderson, Jordan Jones and Jake Vokins have all returned to their parent clubs.