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Roker Roundup: Sunderland face strong competition from Rangers for promising young centre back

Reports in the media claim Sunderland and Rangers are vying it out for a promising young defender, whilst Steven Fletcher has been talking about his time at the club.

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Competition for target

Sunderland will face competition from Steven Gerrard’s Rangers if they are to follow up their interest in Oldham Athletic’s George Edmundson.

Gerrard is keen to take the centre-back to Ibrox for next season but Sunderland are monitoring developments, with the likes of Hull City, Stoke City and Fleetwood Town also keen.

It’s thought Oldham want £450,000 for the 21-year-old who made the League Two team of the season, and there had been reports that Edmundson had been given a tour of Rangers’ Hummel Training Centre but that has since been denied:

Northampton Town v Oldham Athletic - Sky Bet League Two Photo by Pete Norton/Getty Images

More on failed Taylor move

Lyle Taylor provided more details on his decision last summer to choose Charlton Athletic over a move to Sunderland, with the striker explaining that the chance to work with Lee Bowyer and the close proximity to home swung the signing the Addicks’ way.

Now Charlton’s head of recruitment Steve Gallen has been discussing with Talksport how difficult signing Taylor was, and he revealed how Sunderland offered the player more money but that it was such a difficult process trying to get the move wrapped up, that he needed a week to recover:

I spent weeks trying to get Lyle Taylor, every day I was going flat out to get him, it was exhausting and mentally draining.

It nearly took me a week to recover from that process. I just wanted to sleep and do nothing else – it was one of the most difficult and challenging periods of my life.

But you look at the impact he’s had at this football club on the field and the way he’s conducted himself off the field, and you think to yourself ‘you know what it was worth it in the end’ – he’s been first class.”

Jason Pearce had played with Lyle so he helped persuade him to come here and I also spoke to a couple of Lyle’s former coaches.

Lee and myself then met up a couple of times with Lyle and his representatives and were thoroughly impressed with the way he came across.

Sunderland offered him more money, then there were Oxford, Southend, Bristol Rovers – they all wanted him – but the lad decided he wanted to come to Charlton.

We knew getting him in could be a game changer – the difference between promotion and mid-table obscurity.

Losing Karlan Grant was obviously very disappointing in January, but it was a good deal for the club, all things considered.

But last summer was when things were really stressful. Funds were very tight. We knew Lyle would be a crucial signing for this football club.


Fletcher believes O’Neill was sacked too soon

Former Sunderland striker Steven Fletcher believes the club sacked Martin O’Neill too quickly due to the pressure of trying to keep the club in the Premier League.

Speaking to Si Ferry of Open Goal, Fletcher says that although Paolo Di Canio came in and kept the team in the Premier League, O’Neill would have done that anyway:

It was upstairs.

They were that scared of getting relegated, it was just like ‘we need change’.

He would have kept us up, he would have kept us up but I know Di Canio came in and kept us up but Martin would have kept us up that year.

They were that scared of staying in the Premier League that they changed.

The pressure of keeping the club up brought the conversation around to the Netflix documentary Sunderland ‘Til I Die.

Fletcher says he was unable to watch past the first two episodes as it was too difficult to watch such a brilliant club struggle:

I watched two episodes and I’m not going to lie, it’s hard to watch when you have been there for so long - I was there for four years - It was hard to watch, I stopped watching it.

I liked being there, it’s not nice to see what happened to them. I watched it but I just stopped watching.

The fans were brilliant, don’t get me wrong but there was always that fear of getting relegated. They were always on edge, everyone was on edge because it’s such a massive club and you’ve seen what happened to them, do you know what I mean?

It wasn’t nice to watch but it’s a brilliant club and the facilities in there are unbelievable, honestly.

Sunderland v Stoke City - Premier League Photo by Nigel Roddis/Getty Images