LONG-SERVING Jack Colback has rejected a new contract at Sunderland, sparking a wave of interest from Premier League and Championship clubs.
But Sunderland have no intention of letting the 23-year-old leave, and would-be suitors are set to be disappointed.
The club’s preferred option is to retain the services of a player who has been at the Academy of Light since the age of 10.
And they will continue working to find a deal acceptable to the star, who is about to enter the last year of his contract at the Stadium of Light.
There are unconfirmed rumours that the Tyneside-born player handed in a transfer request at the weekend after deciding his future lay away from the club.
But Paolo Di Canio is a big admirer of a player who can play at full-back, on the wing or his preferred central midfield, and still has him very much in his plans.
The reasons for Colback’s discontentment are unclear.
But it’s a fact that he is a long way behind the highest paid players at the club, and new signings have been recruited over the past year on vastly higher wages than him.
Colback and his representatives might well feel that his service, loyalty and usefulness as a squad player should be rewarded with a better deal.
And if that is at the root of his disillusionment, the club is likely to negotiate further in order to get him to stay.
Di Canio told SportMail at the end of last season that the value of players like Colback to a squad should not be underestimated.
“You need players like Jack in your squad,” he said. “Players who are versatile and can adapt.
“He’s a good footballer, and he’s also very intelligent.
“He’s like a sponge with information – you ask him to do something, he understands, he does it.
“Managers love a player who is capable of doing that.
“That’s what you need as a modern footballer – intelligence and adaptability – and Jack has both.”