Sunderland star Jordan Pickford has been called up to the England Under-21s squad for the European championship in Poland this June.
Pickford is the only Sunderland player to be selected in Aidy Boothroyd's England squad, which is favorite to win its group against Sweden, Slovakia and hosts Poland. The 23 year-old should be expected to start for the young lions after his recent call up to the senior squad and superb performances for the lads last season.
With speculation surrounding Pickford's future and a number of clubs rumored to be interested in signing him, the tournament in Poland could be seen by the club as an opportunity to drum up his value even higher if he can come close to showing the sort of displays that gained the admiration of a number of top clubs this season.
Last week Everton reportedly tabled an offer of £8 million for Pickford's services, which should have been laughed out of the board room if the club are really serious about selling the stopper.
The long list of clubs rumored to be pursuing a deal includes Arsenal, Liverpool, Everton, Manchester United and West Ham. Manchester City were also said to be interested, however their signing of Brazilian goalkeeper Ederson would appear to have ended their pursuit.
City's £34.5 million deal for Ederson makes Everton's poor £8 million offer for Pickford all the more laughable and should offer some encouragement to chief executive Martin Bain as the value of goalkeepers in this transfer market will have just risen for the other Premier League clubs as a result of that transfer.
Pickford's performances this season certainly warrant a price tag of far more than £8 million. He ranks number 2 in total saves this season behind Burnley's Tom Heaton and number 5 in save percentage - an even more impressive feat considering the defence (or lack of) he had in front of him and the fact he only played 29 games in the Premier league this season.
Pickford produced a number of stand out performances last season, winning three man of the match awards in the league - two of which came in games where he didn't even manage a clean sheet - but that says more about Sunderland than it does about Pickford.
Towards the end of the season his performances against Hull City and Arsenal enhanced his reputation even further, with whoscored.com rating Pickford at 9.11 for his efforts in a 2-0 loss at the Emirates.
For Sunderland fans of course it would be fantastic to see him stay and help lead the lads in their Championship campaign next season, however it seems that any offer north of £20 million will be seriously considered by the club.
If the right offer does come in for Pickford you have to hope that he goes to the right club to help further his development and help him become the world class keeper we all believe he can be. That would mean joining a club that will start him week in, week out in the Premier League. Hopefully a few more typically excellent performances in the European Championship this summer can ensure that Sunderland get the best deal possible to soften the blow of losing one of our own.