SUNDERLAND are weighing up their next move in the battle for Jack Rudoni, after their latest bid for the AFC Wimbledon midfielder was rejected.

The Black Cats have tabled two offers for the 20-year-old, neither of which was deemed to be acceptable by the AFC Wimbledon board.

With Huddersfield Town also having had a formal bid rejected, Wimbledon boss Johnnie Jackson is urging his club’s board to stand firm over Rudoni, who scored 12 goals last season despite his employers being relegated to League Two.

There is still an expectation that the midfielder will move on this summer, with Luton Town and at least one other Championship club waiting in the wings to see how things unfold.

However, Sunderland’s recruitment team must now decide whether to increase their latest offer and table a third bid or admit defeat and start to look elsewhere for the creative midfielder Alex Neil feels he needs as he looks to strengthen his squad ahead of the start of the new season.

The Black Cats first inquired about Rudoni’s possible availability in January, only for Wimbledon to categorically rule out losing the youngster while they battled to try to stay in League One.

Their subsequent relegation has led to them reassessing their financial position, but they remain determined to extract the maximum possible value from one of their most saleable assets.

Wimbledon are understood to be demanding at least £1m for Rudoni, and are pushing for almost all of that sum to be paid in an up-front payment rather than in a series of potential instalments.

Given that the academy product has entered the final year of his current deal, both Sunderland and Huddersfield regard that valuation as unrealistic, although they may well be forced to accept it if they are to pull off a deal.

Rudoni has returned to pre-season training with the rest of the Wimbledon squad, and while there is a chance he could submit a transfer request in an attempt to force through a move, he currently appears willing to allow events to run their course.

There have been suggestions that he was promised in January that he would be allowed to leave this summer, with the subsequent interest from a number of Championship clubs sure to have hardened his resolve to move on.

While Sunderland’s players are back in training at the Academy of Light, with behind-closed-doors matches against Gateshead and Blyth Spartans due to take place this weekend, the Black Cats are yet to make a single signing since winning promotion via last month’s play-off final.

Lynden Gooch and Patrick Roberts have been retained on new deals, but talks with Everton and Tottenham over former loanees Nathan Broadhead and Jack Clarke have yet to result in either re-signing.

Similarly, while Sunderland officials have held talks with Daniel Ballard following the collapse of the Arsenal defender’s proposed loan move to Burnley, they are yet to seal a deal for the 22-year-old centre-half.

Millwall and Blackpool are also interested in Ballard, with the Northern Irishman having had successful loan spells with both clubs in the past.