Sunderland will offer youngster Ethan Robson a new deal ahead of his current contract expiring in the summer amid interest in the 21-year-old from north of the border - but the Black Cats midfielder is in no rush to commit his future to the club he has been with since the age of eight.
Glasgow Celtic and Rangers have been credited with an interest in the Houghton-Le-Spring lad who has broken into the Sunderland first team this season. Robson has been part of the matchday squad for Championship games on six occasions so far this season, starting three matches under Chris Coleman.
The Sun reported at the weekend that the Old Firm rivals will compete for Robson’s signature and would only have to pay the Black Cats £150,000 in compensation if he was to leave England in the summer.
Robson signed his first professional deal at Sunderland in 2014 and was awarded a two-year contract extension in 2016 after becoming a regular in the club’s development squads and Under-23 side. Handed his debut in September against Everton in the EFL Cup, the youngster made his league bow against Cardiff in October.
One of the few to impress as Sunderland limped out of the FA Cup with defeat to Middlesbrough in January, Robson was a stand-out performer the last time the Chris Coleman’s men won a game in January’s win against Hull.
However, as the Black Cats midfield has struggled to impose itself in defeats to Birmingham and Ipswich, Robson has struggled to maintain that initial impetus - though he’s been far from the worst performer in a Sunderland shirt.
As Coleman continues to suffer from injuries and an inability to add significantly to his squad in the January transfer window, the Black Cats boss has increasingly turned to the club’s academy products, with the likes of Josh Maja and Joel Asoro featuring regularly. Getting consistent performances from the youngsters in the squad - as they build their match experience at the sharp end - was always going to be a challenge however.
Sunderland have a host of other academy products out of contract at the end of the season. Defenders Michael Ledger and Tom Beadling are out on loan at Hartlepool and Dunfermline respectively and may be looking for new clubs come the summer, whilst regulars with the Under-23s such as Luke Molyneux and Adam Bale will also be heading into new deal negotiations as the year progresses.