With the Black Cats having already seen their relegation from the Premier League confirmed, the transfer vultures are beginning to circle at the Stadium of Light.
Jermain Defoe is expected to move on as he chases down a place in England’s World Cup squad, while Pickford is viewed as a possible Three Lions star of the future.
At 23 years of age, he has attracted interest from several top clubs – including Manchester City, Liverpool and Everton – but Sunderland have made it clear that they will not part with their prized assets on the cheap as they prepare for life in the Championship.
“He’s got a contract until 2020, so it would have to be our choice to sell, not Jordan’s or anybody else,” manager David Moyes told reporters.
“We’ve not had any clubs contact us at the moment, there’s a lot of speculation but we’ve not had any contact.”
Moyes, who is expecting to stay on as Sunderland boss, added when quizzed on his side being left exposed to transfer raids following relegation: “I think if that’s the case then we’ll have to be expensive sellers.
“I don’t think it has happened very often here at Sunderland - very few players have been sold for a profit. I can think of people like Jordan Henderson off the top of my head.
“If people come for our players they’ll have to pay the price.”
Reports ahead of the summer window have suggested that Sunderland will be looking to generate around £17 million from any deal involving academy graduate Pickford.