Liverpool have targeted Belgian star Simon Mignolet as a potential replacement for Pepe Reina, but Sunderland have opened contract discussions with the goalkeeper in an attempt to keep him at the Stadium of Light.

The Northern Echo has reported that Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill has begun negotiations with Mignolet over a contract extension after rumours began to circulate he was looking for a move away.

Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool have all shown interest in the Belgian, but Brendan Rodgers is believed to be the most eager in signing the 24-year-old after Reds number one Reina was linked with a possible transfer to Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Doubts over Mignolet's future at Sunderland began after his agent, Guy Vandermissen, suggested he would need to play elsewhere if he was to fulfil his ambition of overtaking Thibaut Courtois as Belgian number one. Courtois is in his second year at Atletico Madrid, on loan from Chelsea, and has the most clean sheets in La Liga this season.

Mignolet has been one of the Black Cats' top performers this term, keeping nine clean sheets, and he was recently awarded the North-East Football Writers' Association Player of the Year.

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