The chances of Paul Scharner increased slightly last night as the versatile Austrian turned down a £6m move to Sunderland.

Scharner, who can play in defence or midfield, has made it plain that he wants a new challenge away from the JJB Stadium and won’t be staying at Wigan. It was thought he may be keen on teaming up with the former Athletic manager Steve Bruce, just installed as the new boss at the Stadium of Light, but Scharner revealed that he would see a move to the Black Cats as a step backwards.

It was a big surprise when Steve Bruce left Wigan. But I can’t see myself joining Sunderland. They are certainly not an improvement on Wigan. Besides, I did not get on too well with Bruce’s style of play.

Interest in high in Scharner – the player himself claims he’s had offers from England and Germany. As well as Fulham, the Daily Mail reports that Aston Villa, Everton and Tottenham are keen on signing the 29-year-old.