Sunderland stars Jack Rodwell, Lamine Kone and Didier Ndong could all be sold in the January transfer window as doubts remain whether owner Ellis Short will be able to sell the club before then.
According to The Northern Echo, Short has instructed Chief Executive Martin Brian to begin making plans for the remainder of the season, as the owner has not yet been able to find a suitable buyer for the club.
Sunderland were previously in negotiations with a German consortium in the summer, but were not able to reach an agreement.
Short wants to reduce the club’s current debt level. They have already reduced a chunk of the wage bill in the summer and raised £30m with the sale of goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to Everton, but much of that fee went to prior financial obligations.
Now he plans to lower debts further through the January sales of Rodwell, Kone and Ndong. All three are viewed as the most valuable assets to the club.
Both Kone and Ndong were reportedly the subject of interest from West Ham during the summer, as well as a number of foreign clubs.
Rodwell has fallen out of favor at the Stadium of Light, and with the Englishman allegedly the highest earner at the club, they would like to get him off their books.
Sunderland are currently in the relegation zone in the Championship after dropping down from the Premier League last season. Chief Executive Brian will be looking to get a realistic figure for the trio especially if they continue to stay in their current position.
Sunderland take on QPR later on Saturday in the Championship. Ahead of the game, Sunderland manager Simon Grayson said he still believes there is a chance the club could reach the play-off places, despite their current troubles.
According to The Northern Echo, he said: “Can Sunderland really overcome such a disappointing start to be genuine contenders in the top half of the table come May, especially when they are extremely unlikely to be big spenders in the January transfer window? Yes, because in this league, everybody can beat everybody.”