Report: Sunderland to sell Defoe and Larsson in January
Photo source: Shields Gazette

Jermain Defoe and Sebastian Larsson could be on their way out of Sunderland in January.

According to a report in the Telegraph, chairman Ellis Short has told manager Sam Allardyce that he has to free up some room on the wage bill before new players come in, whilst the sales of both, or either, would help fund transfers too.

Both have struggled to establish themselves in the team this season, with the changing of managers from Dick Advocaat to Allardyce not helping either, and it would not be such a shock for them to want to move on as well.

Lack of playing time may push both out the door

With minutes proving hard to come for both players, each will have their own reasons for a potential exit in the New Year.

Larsson has started just three games all season and, with Sweden having qualified for Euro 2016, he will be keen on playing as much as possible to increase his chances of being selected for next summer's squad.

Defoe, on the other hand, has already expressed his frustration with his lack of game time on Wearside, leading him to being linked with a January switch to former side Bournemouth.

Both are two of the club's higher earners and so would free up plenty of room on the wage bill, whilst they could also demand reasonable transfer fees to boost Allardyce's funds.

Potential replacements?

The Telegraph have also reported that the manager is already eyeing up targets to replace these two.

Charlie Austin has long been linked with the Black Cats, despite him stating that he does not wish to leave Queens Park Rangers. The Englishman would cost a pretty penny, with his price tag reportedly approaching double figures, and so selling first would surely be needed in order for the club to land his services.

As for a replacement for Larsson, the report says that Allardyce is still keen on free agent Kevin Nolan, despite rumours having cooled recently. His arrival would not put a dent in the £20 million the manager is believed to have available either.

Whilst fans may be far from keen to see their most talented striker and last year's Player of the Year depart, these sort of bold changes are what the team may need to survive this season.