Up to 16 could leave the Stadium of Light with under-fire manager David Moyes facing a major rebuilding job in the close-season, whichever league the Black Cats are playing in.

That seems certain to be the Championship with Sunderland nine points from safety at the foot of the table with just one league win this year.

Relegation would see top scorer Jermain Defoe triggering a clause in his contract allowing him to leave on a free transfer with former clubs West Ham and Bournemouth both keen on the 34-year-old England international.

Prize asset Jordan Pickford will also be in demand with Moyes likely to struggle to hold on to the highly-rated keeper.

Six others are out of contract – John O’Shea, Seb Larsson, Victor Anichebe, Steven Pienaar, Joleon Lescott and Jan Kirchhoff – with none certain to be offered new deals.