According to a report in The Sun, Sunderland could face a ‘financial nightmare’ if they are relegated.
Sunderland are two points adrift of safety, as things stand, and they are running out of time to get out of the drop zone.
And The Sun report that if Sunderland do fail to make it out of trouble before the end of the season, it could spark a mass exodus at the Stadium of Light over the summer.
According to the tabloid newspaper, both Jack Rodwell and Jermain Defoe have no clauses in their contracts to reduce their wages if Sunderland do drop to the Championship.
Rodwell and Defoe are two of Sunderland’s top earners, and funding their salaries without the income of top level football would be a huge challenge.
Jeremain Lens is also touted as another player who could leave Wearside if Sunderland are relegated.
The Black Cats did put a clause in the winger’s contract to ensure his wages would be cut if they dropped down to the second tier, and that could mean that the 28-year-old looks to move on.