According to The Sun’s Alan Nixon, Sunderland are ready to have a massive clear out of players ahead of what is increasingly looking like a second successive relegation and third-tier football next season.

Sunderland sit joint-bottom in the Sky Bet Championship after a disastrous 2017/18 campaign and have just 32 points to show from 41 games. Yesterday’s 1-1 draw at Elland Road against Leeds United, a game where three points was a must, half-hammered a further nail into the Black Cats’ relegation coffin.

The Wearsiders sit seven points from safety, and with only 15 points to play for many are tipping them for the drop – a circumstance that has looked likely all season. In order to prepare for this, Nixon says they “plan a massive clear-out” and will “let all of their big earners go for small fees.

Names mentioned by The Sun’s chief football reporter include stars Didier Ndong, Lamine Kone and Aiden McGeady. Nixon says that “McGeady is on sky-high pay so is set to be shifted,” and that former £20 million rated centre-back Kone “could be given away to slash the wage bill.” Ndong is currently on loan in the Premier League with Watford and, although he’s not exactly pulling up trees with his performances, the Hornets might buzz at a cut-price deal.

Nixon goes on to state that “insiders” at the north-east club estimate that if they hit League One next season without moving players on, that “Sunderland would have a payroll of £50-£60m” – the highest salary faced at that level.

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Cynicism turned to optimism but without the woop woops and ringing bells. Leeds United supporter through thick and thin, more thin than anything recently. Write mainly about the Whites but turn my hand to other clubs. Lover of salted crisp sandwiches. Not a hipster.

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