Since he took over at Hull City, it's been strongly speculated that Steve Bruce was going to 'raid' Sunderland for a few players, notably a loan for David Meyler.
Martin O'Neill told reporters today that Meyler is being highly sought-after, but is keen to retain the services of the Irish midfielder, who arrived on Wearside four years ago this week;
There's loads of people interested in Meyler. I like him a lot and I can understand why teams want him.
I think he's got great courage and he's a really great kid. He's had some serious injuries and he's still as brave as ever.
Clearly it seems that for at least the foreseeable future, Meyler is part of the plan under O'Neill for next season, and in theory it makes sense.
He's not a world-beater, and never will be. He's one of those players who can come in and 'do a job' as and when required. If the trip to Korea taught us anything it's that O'Neill seems to like a 4-3-3 formation, which all of a sudden makes the midfield spots more in demand.
The likely starting midfield if everyone is fit would appear to be Jack Colback, Lee Cattermole and Seb Larsson - with a 'reserve' midfield of David Vaughan, David Meyler and Craig Gardner - which gives us the opportunity to make simple straight swaps during inevitable injury and suspension crisis' next year.
Meyler played 90-minutes of both games in Korea, and for the most part did his usual job. Losing him at this stage to the Championship wouldn't be a disaster, but it would deplete our squad given Cattermole is a walking suspension, while David Vaughan is currently injured and Seb Larsson seems unable to last 40 games a season too.
What might work against Meyler is the fact we must be, or at least I hope we are, in the market for a creative presence in midfield. While all those listed above can perform with a certain level of competence, none are particularly "match winners" as they say.
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