Contract rebel Jack Colback risks further infuriating Sunderland supporters by abandoning the Championship-bound club to sign for archenemies Newcastle.
The Black Cats can be backed at 21/4 to overturn a gap currently standing at six points and climb out of the bottom three, but it looks as though they’ll be without Colback from next season regardless.
North east local paper The Chronicle reports that the 24-year-old is hankering for a move to St James’ Park and his representatives are alleged to have made contact with the Magpies transfer gurus.
Alan Pardew is set to invest in his depleted squad this summer, with a gaping hole in the centre of his midfield following the sale of Yohan Cabaye in January.
While Colback brings more graft than guile to the party, he has the qualities to improve the club he grew up supporting from the terraces.
Ki Sung-Yueng is the only Sunderland player to outshine his 88.5 per cent pass completion rate this term, a total that not a single Newcastle player with over ten appearances this season can best.
Passing accuracy is one commonly plucked string on his bow; versatility is another.
He thrives in the anchorman role as much as he does shuttling from box-to-box and can also be relied upon to perform at left-back should his manager require a makeshift number three.
Such qualities have caught the eye of a host of Premier League clubs who are all keen to take this valuable free agent.
The Chronicle cites Aston Villa, Everton, Fulham and Stoke as interested parties, but Colback’s Tyneside roots should enable the Toon to fend off the fierce competition.