Report: Sunderland enter race for Aston Villa ace Ciaran Clark with £5m release clause

Ciaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston Villa

Sunderland are reported to be competing with West Bromwich Albion for Aston Villa's Ciaran Clark.

Ciaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston VillaCiaran Clark celebrates scoring the first goal for Aston Villa

Sunderland are interested in signing Aston Villa defender Ciaran Clark, The Telegraph claim.

The paper write that the Black Cats have entered the race for the defender, with West Bromwich Albion also keen.

Clark was part of an Aston Villa side which endured one of the worst seasons in the Premier League era, winning only three games.

He has a chance to salvage his 2015/16 campaign by impressing on international duty with Republic of Ireland this summer.

Republic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark scores their first goalRepublic of Ireland's Ciaran Clark scores 

His price will not be able to rise at the tournament, with The Telegraph reporting he has a release clause of £5 million in his contract.

Sunderland manager Sam AllardyceSunderland manager Sam Allardyce

Having kept Sunderland in the Premier League, the Black Cats are likely to need to strengthen to avoid another relegation battle.

The Sun reported just 24 hours earlier that centre-back is one of two key positions manager Sam Allardyce intends to prioritise spending this summer, along with a new midfielder.

Aston Villa's Brad Guzan, Ciaran Clark and teammates look dejected after Watford's third goalAston Villa's Brad Guzan, Ciaran Clark and teammates look dejected after Watford's third goal

26-year-old Clark played in 18 Premier League games last season starting 16 of them, and scoring once, with his last appearance playing 90 minutes and keeping a clean sheet against Newcastle United, a result which helped ensure Sunderland's survival at their rivals' expense.

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