In rather unexpected news, Roker Report were informed by a source close to the club late last night that young midfielder George Honeyman is wanted by Sheffield Wednesday, and that a deal is currently being discussed between the two sides.
With relegation officially confirmed following our 2-1 defeat at the hands of Burton Albion over the weekend, Championship clubs will no doubt be circling round our squad looking to pick up bargains. However, with regards to Honeyman, it is thought he caught the eye of the Hillsborough club many months ago and that they have been eyeing the player for quite some time.
It would be a surprise should Chris Coleman allow the 23-year-old to move away from the Stadium of Light, especially after talking him up for months since his arrival, and even going as far as stating he wished he could “bottle” the attitude of the Prudhoe-born academy product before earmarking him as a potential candidate as a future Sunderland captain.
However, was Coleman’s lavish praise merely an attempt to make sure Honeyman’s head wasn’t turned? The truth is, with money tight, a half decent bid from Wednesday is likely to at least force a discussion between clubs such is our alleged financial plight - regardless of whether Coleman sanctions the transfer or not.
Joining the club as a ten-year-old, Honeyman graduated from the Academy of Light under the tutelage of Sunderland legend Kevin Ball, but broke into the the first team late, only making his full league debut last February in a 2-0 defeat at West Brom. However, since his first team introduction the youngster has never looked back, becoming one of the only chinks of light in a dark and depressing season.
Despite some detractors, he has performed admirably throughout his debut season under supremely difficult circumstances. Chipping in with half a dozen league goals despite playing in numerous positions across Sunderland’s midfield, his work rate has been far above any other player in our ranks and has quite rightly been one of the first names on the team sheet - firstly for Simon Grayson, and more recently under Chris Coleman.
There have also been strong rumours that despite his inexperience, the dynamic midfielder has taken on a leadership role within the squad after being allegedly frustrated with the lack of desire from his fellow Sunderland players.
With boss Chris Coleman committing his future to the club again following relegation, it would be a big surprise to see Honeyman leave without a fight from him - a manager who has consistently talked up the credentials of the player and spoke of building a team around him.
That being said, with a squad desperate for new faces and an injection of some kind of transfer kitty, that choice may not be afforded to the former Wales boss, as CEO Martin Bain may just pull the rug from under the feet of Coleman and sanction the move. The fact that Sheffield Wednesday are rumoured to be confident of landing the 23-year-old would seem Martin Bain certainly hasn’t been unwelcoming to their alleged advances.
It would also greatly undermine the role of Chris Coleman should he be allowed move on - showing even more evidence that cost cutting and reduction of Ellis Short’s debt is paramount and takes precedence over the restructuring of the actual playing staff, which is so desperately needed.
Despite some inconsistencies, Honeyman has no doubt been one of our better players this term and seems to have the attitude and ability that our boss is looking for. If Martin Bain and Ellis Short are still at the club come August and are serious about wanting to compete or even mounting a promotion challenge at the first attempt of asking, entertaining the idea of selling on one of our only reasons to remain positive would show yet another frustrating level of ineptness from the very top... then again, how many of us would really be that surprised?