SUNDERLAND could be about to slash more than £70,000-a-week from their wage bill, with Lee Cattermole and Bryan Oviedo the subject of mounting interest from clubs wanting to take them from the Stadium of Light.

Sheffield Wednesday manager Steve Bruce is desperate to be reunited with Cattermole at Hillsborough, and while Owls officials are reluctant to match the midfielder’s current earnings on Wearside, the former Sunderland boss remains hopeful a deal can be agreed.

Oviedo is the subject of strong interest from Belgian side Club Brugge, with Norwegian club Rosenborg also having made a formal inquiry about the full-back this summer.

The pair were both part of the Sunderland team that dropped out of the Premier League in 2017, but while their wages automatically dropped when the Black Cats fell into the Championship, they did not fall further when a second successive relegation left their employers in League One.

As a result, they are understood to be earning a combined total of around £70,000-a-week, meaning their departure would potentially save Sunderland more than £3.5m-a-year.

Given that the Black Cats’ total income for the next 12 months in League One is likely to be less than £20m, trimming £3.5m from the wage bill would have a major impact on Jack Ross’ ability to make signings of his own this summer.

Cattermole was an extremely influential figure last season, but while Ross values the midfielder’s leadership and experience, he will not stand in the way of him moving to Sheffield Wednesday. The January signing of Grant Leadbitter means Sunderland are reasonably well stocked in the defensive-midfield positions.

Bruce signed Cattermole at both Wigan Athletic and Sunderland, and is keen to complete a hat-trick of deals this summer. He has made the 31-year-old one of his main summer targets, even though his current wages would make him one of the highest-paid players on Sheffield Wednesday’s books.

If Sunderland are willing to agree to a free transfer, there is a chance Wednesday could engineer a deal that would not leave Cattermole out of pocket, with a reduction in his weekly wage counter-balanced by the offer of a longer contract.

Oviedo came close to leaving Sunderland in January, only for a proposed move to West Brom to collapse on deadline day, and while the Costa Rica international showed commendable professionalism as he knuckled down to regain his starting spot on Wearside, he is finally set to complete his departure in the next couple of months.

Denver Hume will hope to be Sunderland’s first-choice left-back next season after recently signing a new two-year deal, while Reece James still has the option of triggering a one-year contract extension that would keep him on Wearside.

Rosenborg have become the latest club to express an interest in Oviedo, although the defender insists he is not focusing on his club future as he prepares to represent Costa Rica at the forthcoming Concacaf Gold Cup.

“The truth is that I have not spoken about anything with my agent as at this time, they are on vacation and I am here with the national team and do not talk much,” said Oviedo. “We will see what happens in the future.”

As well as looking to move on some of their more experienced players, Sunderland are also pondering what to do with some of their emerging talents.

Bali Mumba started last season in the Black Cats’ first team, but after dropping out of Ross’ senior plans in the second half of the campaign, the 17-year-old is set to spend some of next season on loan.

“Bali was in the first team at the start of the season, and there is no doubting his quality,” said Under-23s boss Elliott Dickman. “But he needed time to develop as it (was) his first full season in the building as a player and he is still only 17.

“He has had a year in the Under-23s, and next season, we will have a look at him and see what sort of level might benefit him to go and play senior football.”