Left-back Denver Hume saw his Sunderland contract expire at the end of June.
The 22-year-old has been a free agent ever since, with The Black Cats academy graduate’s immediate future yet to be resolved.
Hume, who is still recovering from a hamstring injury and is being treated by the club, has been offered new terms at The Stadium of Light, but a decision has not been reached as of yet.
Sunderland had been closing in on young Liverpool left-back Tony Gallacher over the past few days, but the League One club opted out of the deal in its concluding stages – raising hope amongst Sunderland fans that Hume is nearing an improved deal.
The latest update in Sunderland’s obvious pursuit of a left-back is that Hume has been given a deadline by Lee Johnson, who told Chronicle Live: “Denver is still injured and he hasn’t signed his contract yet, it’s as simple as that.
“We want to make sure we are doubled up, particularly at the back in most areas, and it’s no secret that we are in the market [for a left-back].
“For me, the deadline for Denver to make a decision is August 7 – it has to be.
“Contractually, the way it works with the compensation rights, it has to be that date.
Hume featured 23 times for The Black Cats last season, scoring once and providing three assists.
When fit and available, Hume established himself as a firm first-choice last season, and with a perceived left-back crisis on their hands, signing the 22-year-old is essential.
It is rather strange that they called off the deal with Gallacher, even if Hume is set to stay. The pair would have battled it out for a starting spot, providing good competition for one another.
Expectation levels will once again be high on Wearside ahead of this upcoming campaign, and signing a left-back is now urgent.
The right-back position is also in need of attention, and perhaps an additional central midfield player is also required. Then, The Black Cats will once again have a squad that is capable of winning the division.