Sunderland face a dilemma over whether to offer Wes Brown a new contract at the Stadium of Light at the end of the season.
Brown's current deal expires in the summer and there has been no signal that a new offer will be put to him, with the Black Cats seemingly waiting until the last minute to make their minds up.
The former Manchester United man is entering the twilight of his career now and at the age of 35 there are questions marks over his capabilities at the top level.
Brown has made 20 appearances for Sunderland this campaign, but his performances have not been on a high enough level to ensure that he is offered a new deal.
|Tackles per game||Headers per game||Interceptions per game||Defensive duels won per game||Passes per game||Passing Accuracy||Appearances||Mins Played|
Brown's stats compete with Gus Poyet's options for a centre-back place in the team, but he does not stand out in any area.
Brown is only ahead of John O'Shea, the other veteran in Sunderland's defence, in terms of the frequency of his tackling and it seems that he may need to be upgraded in the summer.
Doing so, however, may be easier said than done. Sunderland have a paucity of options at centre-back and that may be the only reason that they choose to keep Brown.
With Sebastian Coates due to head back to Liverpool after his loan spell expires, it is likely that Sunderland will be left with only three options in that area and, therefore, Gus Poyet could be taking a big risk if he does allow Brown to depart.
Brown leaving would mean that Sunderland would be left with just two senior centre-backs to choose from for next season and Poyet may not be keen on such a big overhaul of his defence for next year.