Indications earlier this week suggested that Callum McManaman was happy at Sunderland and had been enjoying pre-season under the management of Jack Ross, but interest from his former club Wigan appears to have turned his head.
Sunderland owner Stewart Donald was asked on this week’s Roker Rapport Podcast if he expected McManaman and his teammate Aiden McGeady to stay, and whilst he did say they were both happy and were expected to be a part of our side next season he admitted that should they leave it will be at the request of the player because we can afford to keep them.
Since then, McManaman has told Sunderland manager Jack Ross that he’d like to leave the club. And despite trying to persuade the player that he should stay, McManaman has made it very clear that he sees his future back at Wigan - citing a deep-rooted connection with the Latics as the main reason for why he favours a return.
The recently-promoted north-west side are on the lookout for strength in wide areas and just yesterday missed out on the signing of Yanic Wildschut, who opted against a return to his former club in favour of a loan to Bolton Wanderers.
This has caused Paul Cook to turn his attention towards McManaman, who whilst appearing happy to stay at Sunderland has never made any secret of his desire to eventually return to Wigan should the opportunity arise.
As such Sunderland are on the hunt for a replacement in case, as expected, McManaman leaves to join up with Paul Cook’s side in the Championship.
Whilst some news outlets dismissed speculation about interest in Sheffield United winger Ricky Holmes as false its our belief that there is indeed interest from Sunderland in the former Charlton Athletic man, who has a very good record in League One but hasn’t been able to force his way into Chris Wilder’s side since joining up with them in January.
Another man on Sunderland’s radar is Kilmarnock winger Jordan Jones, who we understand is keen on the move. The former Middlesbrough man has been with Killie since his release in 2016 and has impressed in the SPL, even finding his way into the Northern Ireland senior squad last season.
It’s not yet known how close any of these moves are to coming to fruition, but Wigan are thought to be very keen to get McManaman in as soon as possible so it’ll be interesting to see if he features as part of Jack Ross’ squad ahead of tomorrow’s friendly with St Mirren.