Sunderland defender Carlos Cuellar has insisted that he wants to stay at the club despite relegation to the Championship looking a cert.
The former Villa man has missed much of the season through injury and is out-of-contract this summer, but told reporters:
I don't know what will happen next season. I would like to be here whatever division we are in but I don't know what is going to happen with me because my contract is finished in the summer.
My main thing that I am thinking about is to try and keep the club in the Premier League. I am not asking the club what they are doing because the main focus has to be on this season.
I don't know what is going to happen, but I am really happy at Sunderland and I want to play more games for Sunderland.
I don't see any harm in keeping Cuellar if he wants to stay. He perhaps hasn't been one of the most appreciated players in terms of quality, but he has always been one of the more likeable characters in this squad. It's easy to get the knives out for everyone and advocate just starting again, but the club will be in a healthier position by retaining at least a degree of continuity.
One central defender who looks set for the exit, however, is Mobido Diakite. The Frenchman struggled to settle on Wearside before a January exit on loan, and reports from Italy claim Fiorentina are 'close' to making that deal a permanent one. Whether or not that could mean an extended stay for Marcos Alonso, which I'd certainly be in favour of, remains to be seen.
Another man reportedly hoping to make his temporary departure from Sunderland a permanent one is Alfred N'Diaye. The Sunderland Echo report Real Betis will offer to essentially reimburse the £3.8m the Black Cats paid for him to keep him in Spain. I'd like to see him stay, but such is the reality of relegation.
Finally, The Mirror claim that West Ham will offer Phil Bardsley a way out of Sunderland once his contract expires in the summer.