The big dilemma Sunderland face with Fletcher over the coming months

Sunderland Stadium of Light

Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher's contract is due to expire in the summer of 2016.

Sunderland face a dilemma in the coming months over whether to offer Steven Fletcher a new deal or not.

Fletcher's current contract expires in 2016 and Gus Poyet faces the unenviable task of having to decide if he still has a future at the Stadium of Light.

The Scottish striker was brought to Wearside back in 2012 and he has gone on to become one of the side's most notable attacking outlets.

Fletcher notched 11 goals in 30 appearances during his first season at Sunderland, but he has struggled to find his top form since – with fitness struggles doing his cause few favours.

Fletcher has managed to net just seven times in his last 41 matches and Poyet now faces a big decision over the striker's future.

  GoalsDuel Won GAMEAerial Won GAMETotal Scoring Att GAMEDispossessed GAMEBall Recovery GAMEAppearancesMins Played
Steven Fletcher 4 4.18 2.41 0.91 1 1.41 22 1,296
Connor Wickham 3 6.46 2.65 2.31 3.08 3.96 26 1,969
Jermain Defoe 2 2.43 0.14 2.14 1.71 1.14 7 577
Danny Graham 0 2 1.14 0.57 0.71 0.86 7 283

Rewarding him with a new contract while he is struggling for goals would surely send out the wrong message to his squad, but by not giving him a new deal they will have to find a buyer or risk losing him on a free.

Fletcher has shown that he can score goals in the Premier League and interest in his services would be high, especially if there were an opportunity to acquire him at no expense.

Sunderland would be loathed to lose him without receiving monetary compensation, especially as they paid a fee reported by the BBC to be £14 million to secure his services, but offering him a new deal may not be the best option for the club.

Fletcher is reaching an age now – he will be 28 on March 26 - where he would have little re-sale value if he were offered an extension to his current deal and unless he starts scoring goals, it is hard to see what he is bringing to the side.

The former Wolverhampton Wanderers forward is likely to be on good money and by removing him from their wage bill, Sunderland would create space to bring in another striker who may be more potent in front of goal.

It means that there is still no straightforward answer to the Fletcher problem, which is sure to divide opinion, and Poyet is running out of time to decide what course of action to take.

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