SUNDERLAND have offered to tear up the remaining 18 months of Jack Rodwell’s contract and, almost two weeks later, are still waiting to hear what he wants to do.

The cash-strapped Black Cats have told the former Manchester City midfielder he can leave this month but there will be no pay-off.

Rodwell, whose career has effectively been ruined by a lack of football in recent years, has a contract that is due to run until the end of next season and earns around £70,000-a-week at the Stadium of Light.

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He was the only player to have endured relegation with Sunderland last season who did not have to suffer a 40 per cent pay cut because there was no clause in his contract.

And if he was to walk away from Sunderland then Rodwell would be walking away from around £5m in terms of earnings; so he is likely to be waiting for some sort of settlement.

The 26-year-old indicated to Chris Coleman earlier this month that he wanted to leave and that request was met with an agreement he could – but without any pay-off.

Sunderland, whose owner Ellis Short is unwilling to put any more money into the club because of the substantial debts he is already trying to manage, can’t afford to invest further in the squad.

And offloading Rodwell would certainly help Coleman in his own attempts to strengthen a side seemingly destined for League One – after another crushing blow and defeat at Cardiff on Saturday.

The former England international has not figured for Sunderland’s first team since September and is disliked on Wearside having failed to turn in the performances worthy of his wage packet and £10m transfer fee.

He moved to Sunderland in the summer of 2014 after two difficult years at Manchester City when he was unable to build on a promising start to his career at Everton.

Given his poor record in recent years it would seem unlikely he can pick up the same salary anywhere else, even if there was a club willing to take him on a free.

But, with just two weeks remaining of the transfer window, Coleman is still waiting to hear whether Rodwell is going to be leaving.

The Sunderland boss hinted over the festive period that time was running out for Rodwell under his watch when there was a shortage of midfielders and he was not even under consideration.

Coleman, speaking before Christmas and ahead of a trip to Sheffield United on Boxing Day, said: “You will have to ask Jack if he has the appetite. He is 26, and building wise it is all there. I am sure Simon (Grayson) sat here and said that, they all did right back to Gus (Poyet). It’s up to him to say there’s a challenge there and I will have it.

“He has had a hamstring injury. He hasn’t been training with us but with the medical team. It has been a gruelling regime for him and I have told him. I told him, he can take this two ways, that he has been punted and we are not bothered, or he can say ‘I am going to be as fit as I have ever been, so if my chance comes I will take it’. That’s down to Jack.”

Coleman added: “What happens to Jack will be up to Jack and what he wants to do. What we do know is that Jack needs to be playing football. I won’t be the only manager to have said that.

“Jack is working his socks off at the minute with our medical team and our physios and fitness guys. They are working him hard. We can’t afford any stragglers, we can’t carry anyone.

“We need players here with an appetite who want to play football. Ability-wise it is never in question with Jack. He has to play more football. I don’t care how he does it. He just needs to be on the pitch more. That will be up to Jack.”

Rodwell is still training with the medical department at the Academy of Light, away from the first team.

He is desperate need of a fresh start. He was one of the country’s most promising midfield talents before leaving Everton in 2012.

A frustrating two years at Manchester City clearly dented his confidence and he has never looked like getting back to his best in a Sunderland shirt for a sustained period.

Coleman is still working on ways of adding to his squad. Burnley’s Jon Walters is a preferred option but a deal has not been struck so far.

There are also hopes of bringing in Tom Bradshaw from Barnsley. Bradshaw still has 18 months remaining on his contract at Oakwell, though, and there is also interest in him from Ipswich and QPR.

Coleman handed the 25-year-old his Wales debut in 2016 against Ukraine and would be a much-needed alternative to teenagers Joel Asoro and Josh Maja after the departures of James Vaughan and Lewis Grabban. Bradshaw moved to Barnsley after scoring 40 goals in 86 appearances for Walsall; he has scored 19 in 76 for the Tykes.