Honeyman set for new deal
Midfielder George Honeyman will automatically earn a new deal at Sunderland if he makes one more starting appearance or comes on as a substitute before the 70th minute in any of the Black Cats' remaining three games of the season.
Contracts for academy graduates contain extension clauses based on individuals making three league first team appearances in the season before their deal expires. Introductions as a substitute prior to 70 minutes count for half a showing.
And Honeyman has now started two Premier League games - the first against West Brom in January and his second on Saturday at Hull and played 35 minutes against Bournemouth in the game Sunderland's relegation was confirmed. So he needs a half credit to bag that extension - 21 minutes, coming on no later than the 69th minute.
The player is likely to also be in line for a pay rise with his current earnings at about £2,000 per week.
The 22-year-old has made something of a late breakthrough into the Sunderland first team having been with the club since the age of 11.
He made his professional debut at the age of 15 in the FA Cup and has since been sent on loan to Gateshead. But Honeyman only made 1 appearance for the first team last season in the final game of the campaign at Watford
The Prudhoe-born midfielder has capitalised on the Black Cats' injury-ravaged season to force himself into David Moyes' reckoning. The Sunderland boss praising Honeyman for his display on Saturday in which he should have scored with a header and provided the corner for his side's opening goal.
Moyes told the Sunderland Echo:
Yes there is something in his contract and it automatically means we retain him.
And the player himself confirmed that talks are already underway about staying on:
I had initial talks with the gaffer in the last couple of weeks and I think we're sitting down again this week.
Pickford valuation bar raised to £25m
According to the Telegraph, Sunderland would find offers of £25m too tempting to resist for goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The 22-year-old boyhood Sunderland fan has a long list of admirers amongst the Premier League's top clubs and with David Moyes set to embark on a huge summer overhaul of his relegated squad, Pickford is one of the few to be worth decent money.
Reports last week claimed Everton were at the head of the queue for the England Under-21 'keeper's signature and a fee of £17m was suggested as the figure required to lure Pickford from the Stadium of Light.
David Moyes scoffed at that suggestion after watching his prized asset produce a man-of-the-match performance at Hull City on Saturday and insisted that a young English talent with so much potential would only be let go for a significant cash bid.
And the Sunderland boss repeated his message to Pickford that he may be better placed to continue his development playing regularly at his beloved Sunderland than sitting on a bench somewhere in the Premier League.
Those words have added nearly 50% onto Pickford's value already if the adjusted valuation of £25m now quoted in the press is nearer the mark.
The British record fee paid for a goalkeeper currently stands at 20-million-euros (about 17-million-pounds - which is probably where last week's valuation sprung from) set when David de Gea moved to Manchester United from Atletico Madrid in 2011.
Any suitors for Pickford would surely have to smash that.