David Moyes has confirmed Jermain Defoe has a clause in his contract that may prompt the veteran striker to leave Sunderland, but the manager has suggested he intends to remain with the relegated club.
Defoe has struck 14 Premier League goals to earn a recall to the England squad this season but that was not enough to prevent Sunderland's demotion to the Championship, a fate that was sealed by a 1-0 loss at home to Bournemouth last weekend, together with Hull's 0-0 draw at Southampton.
The 34-year-old, who returned from a spell in MLS with Toronto to prove his continued worth in English football, is under contract until June 2019 but is likely to attract attention from top-flight clubs when the transfer window reopens.
Defoe's future at Sunderland in doubt
"Jermain Defoe has a clause in his contract so it's possible [that he will leave]," Moyes told a news conference ahead of Saturday's match away to Hull, who are still fighting to avoid the drop.
Of Sunderland's talented young goalkeeper, he added: "Jordan Pickford is under contract."
The future of Moyes has also been the subject of speculation, with some fans hoping the former Everton and Manchester United boss will move on after failing to preserve the team's Premier League status.
However, the Scotsman appears intent on sticking it out at the Stadium of Light with a view to steering the club to promotion.
"I met with [chief executive] Martin [Bain] and [owner] Ellis [Short] this week and we had initial discussions about how we move forward," he said.
"We will meet again in a few weeks.
"I know what needs to be done to get back in the Premier League and I know what the requirements are to do that."