I could sit here all day and tell you about how much I rate Paddy McNair. He has it all - power, strength, goal-scoring, tackling, versatility and pure footballing ability.
The Northern Irishman’s horrendous injury record has record severely hampered both his playing style and development since David Moyes signed him for around £5.5 million in the summer of 2016. However, when he is fit, we’ve seen a player capable of destroying any team’s midfield and defence in the Football League.
In fact, I rate Paddy as the best player we have at the club and probably the best in the whole of League One. It really is a crying shame that McNair is playing at this level - he is a Premier League footballer.
Which, I suppose, is why we saw the news yesterday that the club had rejected an offer from Brighton & Hove Albion for a fee of - wait for it - £2 million pounds.
This is a player who scored five goals while playing just 1070 minutes of football last season from midfield - roughly a goal every 200 minutes. Remember, not just any player, but a man playing in the worst side in the league and suffering the ignominy of back-to-back relegations.
Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven have already told us that Sunderland have been routinely taken the p*ss out of for far too long now, and that culture has to change.
Here, the club can really denote a change in policy by getting something right; either keeping the player or selling for a term which was almost a alien during the Ellis Short era - profit.
Risk and reward
In business and life, we all face decisions that are risk and reward. For Sunderland, that means weighing the risks of Paddy McNair (injury or loss of form - see Lamine Kone) against the rewards (having an absolute monster in League One).
So the risk is keeping McNair for a reward that would be either promotion or a bigger fee further down the line. Imagine if we sold McNair for £2 million and he developed into the fantastic top-flight player that we all saw glimpses of towards the back end of this past season? It would be a terrible start for the new regime.
Now flip that. What if McNair stays, becomes captain and scores 20+ goals from midfield? Wow - what a reward. We’d head back to the Championship with a talisman midfielder in tow who absolutely oozes confidence and class.
How much would he be worth then? £10 million? £15 million? With the way fees are going it is hard to tell, but as a club that reward far outweighs the risk.
Make no bones about it, Paddy McNair is a Premier League-standard player when he’s fit and firing.
The rest of the squad
All of this ultimately leads to what we should do with our other valuable assets in the squad who may have had their heads turned at the prospect of moves to clubs further up the food chain.
Joel Asoro, Josh Maja, Lynden Gooch, George Honeyman and Ethan Robson may all be wanted by teams better placed to offer them a higher standard of football and rightly so - they all did a good job last season in a team woefully short of quality.
But if our new owners really want to get fans onside they need to deal with these potential fires effectively and without drama. In fact, I would argue that the best business we could do this summer is keeping those players listed as they will undoubtedly play a huge part in any success that we find next season.
If I was Stewart Donald, I would speak to each player and sell them the vision we as fans have all bought into. If Donald can speak passionately and with a clear plan for the future, then there is no reason why these players can’t stay and thrive. Use this opportunity now to draw a line in the sand - show them that this club can most definitely thrive with them as part of our future.
This is the first time since perhaps Niall Quinn was here that the fans and club find themselves pulling together as one - I just hope that the players we want to keep are pulling in that same direction.