MIDDLESBROUGH goalkeeper Dimi Konstantopoulos has emerged as an option to fill the void set to be left behind by Robbin Ruiter at Sunderland.

The Black Cats will spend this summer gearing up for another crack at League One and Ruiter has already indicated that he expects to leave at the end of this month.

That would leave Max Stryjek as the only senior back-up to Jon McLaughlin and Sunderland boss Jack Ross is looking at the possibilities before acting on one to bring in.

Konstantopoulos has just learned he will be leaving Middlesbrough after six years this summer. Despite turning 41, the experienced Greek shot-stopper is still in good shape and fully fit to play another year so would provide an excellent short-term option for Sunderland.

Konstantopoulos made more than 100 appearances for Middlesbrough but has been mainly cover since playing a crucial record-breaking part in delivering promotion in 2016.

He kept 22 league clean sheets that year, including a record nine in a row, and has retained a strong place in the hearts on Teesside where he also played with Sunderland midfielder Grant Leadbitter.

Konstantopoulos will be looking to play on for another year and it would suit Sunderland to have the experienced Football League No 1 to push McLaughlin and the younger Stryjek for the shirt.

Ruiter admitted earlier this month. “A lot has changed at the club after relegation,” he Ruiter. “There were new owners and a new Scottish manager, who brought his own Scottish keeper. At our first meeting after the summer break, he already indicated that I would be the second keeper and I had to deal with that. My contract expires and I will probably leave.

“I am only 32 years old, so I want to keep good for a few years. That can be at a club in the Netherlands, but abroad is also great. I certainly do not regret my choice for Sunderland.”

Konstantopoulos almost moved to Sunderland 18 months ago when Chris Coleman was in charge. Instead Coleman ended up signing Lee Camp and Konstantopoulos was handed fresh terms at the Riverside.

Sunderland look set to face another period following the failure to return to the Championship, even if it is unlikely to reach the turnover levels of the last pre-season.

The club’s owner Stewart Donald has indicated that he is looking for outside investment to boost the chances of promotion and developing, and he would prefer to be a part of it.

Juan Sartori, who already has a 20 per cent stake in Sunderland, is one option to increase his share, while there are believed to be “two other serious options” under consideration. Donald insists, though, that Ross will be in charge regardless come August.

“Regardless of what happens, the people I’m talking to are like-minded,” he added. “They believe in Jack Ross, they agree with the vision and the plan of the football club.

“Juan is already in the stable, the other person I’m talking to isn’t but we’ve talked to that person for a long time.

“Most of the others have gone by the wayside because I don’t feel they’ve got the right ethos, long-term vision or level of commitment for the club. I have to decide very quickly which way to go and I’ll do that, I’ll communicate that and won’t let it drift.

“But that won’t affect on the pitch, because we’re all like-minded.”

Sartori purchased a his share in Sunderland last August but is campaigning to be selected as a candidate in the Uruguayan presidential election. He flew over to Wembley to watch the play-off final defeat to Charlton.

But Sunderland will be looking to tinker again and follow on from the boost of a further £2m from deals involving Lamine Kone and Wahbi Khazri.