Sunderland confirm release of four first-team players

Danny Graham
Danny Graham
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Sunderland have confirmed the release of out-of-contract quartet Wes Brown, Danny Graham, Steven Fletcher and Steve Harper.

The Black Cats today released their annual retained list of players, with four members of the first-team squad formally parting ties with the club when their deals expire at the end of this month.

As expected, centre-half Brown, strikers Graham and Fletcher, plus third-choice keeper Harper are all leaving the Stadium of Light.

Brown is the longest-serving player among that quartet after the ex-England international has spent the last five years with Sunderland following a £1million move from Manchester United.

The 36-year-old's previous deal expired last summer, but he was given a 12-month extension with a view to being a back-up option and he started six games last season.

The Sunderland careers of Graham and Fletcher effectively came to an end in January when they headed out on loan to Blackburn and Marseille respectively.

Fletcher was by far the more successful of the pair in a red and white shirt, even if he proved to be a frustrating figure in more than 100 appearances during which he netted 22 goals.

Both Fletcher and Graham leave for nothing after Sunderland had invested around £17million in bringing the pair to Wearside.

Ex-Newcastle stopper Harper also leaves the club after arriving in January as a back-up option to Vito Mannone and Jordan Pickford.

The only other player out-of-contract at Sunderland this summer was flop defender Valentin Roberge, but the Frenchman's deal was terminated by mutual consent last month.

First-team players retained by Sunderland: Tom Beadling, Fabio Borini, Liam Bridcutt, Will Buckley, Lee Cattermole, Jermain Defoe, Emanuele Giaccherini, Rees Greenwood, Jordi Gomez, Lynden Gooch, George Honeyman, Billy Jones, Younes Kaboul, Wahbi Khazri, Jan Kirchhoff, Lamine Kone, Seb Larsson, Jeremain Lens, Vito Mannone, Charis Mavrias, Adam Matthews, John O'Shea, Jordan Pickford, Jack Rodwell, Josh Robson, Tom Robson, Max Stryjek, Patrick van Aanholt, Santiago Vergini, Duncan Watmore.