Sunderland have rejected a suggestion from Leeds to swap Aiden McGeady for Andy Lonergan as the finer details of the goalkeeper’s transfer from West Yorkshire to Wearside are set to be sorted out this weekend.
Or so word has reached us now that Lonergan has returned to this country after spending the past few days training with his Leeds teammates in southern Spain.
Sunderland’s signing of Brighton winger Kazenga LuaLua has intensified suggestions McGeady could be sacrificed as Chris Coleman continues his quest for reinforcements in key positions; but we understand the Black Cats boss has slapped a ‘not for sale’ sign on the Republic of Ireland international as he aims to steer his side clear of the Championship relegation zone.
McGeady’s form has dipped alarmingly in recent weeks - notably since Simon Grayson was sacked and he was singled out for criticism as Eire were thumped by Denmark in November’s World Cup play-off.
Coleman’s present preferred 5-3-2 system also has many fans on Wearside wondering how LuaLua will fit in alongside McGeady and fellow winger Callum McManaman; though it has been suggested Sunderland’s new boy will be slotted in centrally to support the front two.
The current thinking is that Leeds will allow Lonergan to depart for little more than a nominal fee as soon as they’re able to land a suitable replacement. The 34-year-old has been unable to establish himself as number 1 at Elland Road despite the mediocre form of fellow stopper Felix Wiedwald.
As we were first to note this week, Lonergan will be offered an 18-month deal at the Stadium of Light and the chance to establish himself as first choice ‘keeper ahead of Robbin Ruiter and Jason Steele.
Whether Sunderland will continue the season with three senior goalies plus the recently recalled Max Stryjek remains to be seen. Ruiter may have established himself as Chris Coleman’s preferred choice between the sticks but the Dutchman has only really done so by default following the woeful form of teammate Steele.
Seemingly blighted by nerves, Steele was last seen gifting Middlesbrough two goals in the FA Cup Third Round after being dropped back in October after Simon Grayson abandoned faith in him in favour of Ruiter.