Goalkeeper was one of the most eye-catching performers in the top flight last campaign.
Both Liverpool and Arsenal have been given hope in their efforts to sign highly-rated Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet this summer after the shot stopper admitted that he did not want to undergo another season fighting relegation again, according to exclusive reports in the Daily Mail.
The young Belgium international has only been at the Stadium of Light for three campaigns now, having been signed for the Black Cats by previous manager Steve Bruce from Belgium outfit Sint-Truiden for just £2 million on a five-year deal in June 2010.
In the intervening three-year period the 25-year-old has proved himself to be one of the Premier League’s outstanding goalkeepers, playing in 101 matches for the north-east giants, including 90 contests in the top flight.
However, it is that eye-catching form between the sticks for Sunderland that has now resulted in a wave of speculation linking Mignolet with a possible £6.5m move to either Arsenal or Liverpool when the summer transfer window finally reopens for business once again on July 1.
And the Sunderland No 1’s comments on his Black Cats future will have alerted both those two top-flight giants.
“I am ambitious, and I read the press as you do,” said Mignolet while on international duty with his country.
“It has been a difficult season with Sunderland. It’s not much fun to play bottom of the League, and I think Sunderland will know they have to change something to prevent another season like that.
“The manager [Paolo Di Canio] wants to change the team for the better. Let’s hope he can do that next season.
“I am happy with my season. I played 38 matches. Few players can say they did that in a Premier League season. I also managed 11 clean sheets, which is not bad if you’re playing at the bottom of the division. To do that, you have to be mentally strong, and I think it shows I have progressed a lot as a goalkeeper.
“Apart from the two club awards, I was voted north-east player of the year, and that is not a bad achievement, considering Newcastle were playing in European competition and had players like Demba Ba and Ben Arfa in their ranks. I have had a good season, so it’s logical your name is linked with one or two teams.
“I have read about it, but I haven’t heard anything. I know there has been talk about Arsenal, but I haven’t heard anything or received a phone call from Arsene Wenger. I will stay calm and focused on the Belgium games, and after that, go on holiday with my girlfriend. We will see what happens.”