SUNDERLAND are working hard to press through the moves of Ahmed Elmohamady and George McCartney to newly-promoted West Ham United by the end of the month.
The Black Cats have prioritised the selling on of players who no longer have a role to play at the Stadium of Light.
And while the club has been looking to offload McCartney since long before Martin O’Neill’s arrival in December, Egyptian international Elmohamady has been added to the ‘surplus to requirements’ list under the new manager.
Neither are expected to be at the Stadium of Light next season but while the moves of Marcos Angeleri and Asamoah Gyan are also in hand, Elmohamady and McCartney’s are expected to be the first departures confirmed.
A ‘gentleman’s agreement’ was in place when McCartney went on loan to Upton Park last season that if the club got promoted, the two clubs would agree to make the move permanent
Elmohamady meanwhile has confirmed that he has been given permission to talk to West Ham about a potential move – either loan or permanent – and the Egyptians move out of the club is expected to happen sooner rather than later.
That will be pleasing for Sunderland owner Ellis Short who confirmed earlier this week that one of the club’s main objectives on the playing side was to ensure the squad carried as few players as possible who were not heavily involved in the manager’s plans.
Short has watched at times with exasperation, as players arrived on his watch who have simply not featured, or barely-featured, across the course of whole seasons.
The situation reached its height in the latter stages of Roy Keane’s management but was also a problem at times under Steve Bruce.
And both Short and O’Neill are united in their desire to carry as few passengers into next season as possible.
The restrictions introduced in 2010 to curb the size of Premier League squads have helped reduce the worst instances of excessive squads.
But Sunderland see the simple value in having as few players as possible on the wage bill who are not going to make genuine contributions to the campaign.
And although McCartney, Elmohamady, Angeleri and Gyan are very much in the spotlight in terms of their Sunderland careers coming to an end, one or two others are expected to depart the club this summer along with that quartet.