Report: Sunderland to open contract talks with Lee Cattermole, Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher

Sunderland have tied Connor Wickham to a new contract, and now they have set their sights on three more stars.

Wickham agreed an extension to his current deal, keeping him at the club until the summer of 2019.

Having faced interest from a host of other clubs, head coach Gus Poyet revealed his delight at the forward signing a new deal on Wearside, as it prevents the 21-year-old from agreeing a pre-contract with someone from January - and leaving on a free in the summer.

With John O’Shea also extending his contract back in October, only 35-year-old defenders Wes Brown and Anthony Reveillere are left on contracts that expire in the summer, and the duo are unlikely to have a host of clubs tracking their availability due to their age.

It represents an improvement upon last season, when Craig Gardner and Phil Bardsley left the club for free at the expiration of their deals, whilst Jack Colback rejected new talks in order to sign for local rivals Newcastle.

With the ageing duo the only likely worries for summer departures, the Chronicle is reporting that Poyet will open talks with three further players whose contracts expire at the end of next season - Lee Cattermole, Adam Johnson and Steven Fletcher.

Cattermole’s name has been highlighted previously as a key man to tie down, with a report published prior to Wickham’s extension suggesting that the 26-year-old midfielder would be next in line, whilst the likes of Johnson and Fletcher are key men in the Black Cats first-team set-up.

The news will be welcome to the Wearside faithful, as they enter the transfer window in the knowledge that Poyet can focus upon strengthening the side by buying players, rather than having to worry about losing their best stars upon the ending of their contracts.

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