During their latest appearance on the Roker Rapport podcast, Sunderland owners Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven gave updates on the future of a number of Sunderland players.
Regarding the higher earners at the club, the likes of Lee Cattermole and Bryan Oviedo, Charlie Methven says we can keep them and there is no pressure to sell any of the high earners but explained that just one leaving may allow five top League One players to come in, while still saving money:
Financially, we are not under compulsion to sell them just to balance the books.
However, if you want to remodel that squad to make sure that you get full value for the money that you’re spending on that squad then, as Stewart said quite clearly, when a high earner moves out you can then go and recruit five top League One players and still save money.
Regarding promising Academy product and England youth international Elliot Embleton who is out of contract at the end of the season, Donald confirmed that the youngster has been offered a new contract but although it has yet to be accepted, Sunderland’s chairman is confident he will sign a new deal that will keep him at the club for at least the next two seasons:
He’s been offered a contract.
No, he hasn’t taken it, my gut instinct is that he will take it. If he doesn’t take it it’s because someone will have to come in and pay a fee for him.
I think, with what we’ve offered him, I don’t think anybody would come in and offer him more than what we are.
It’s two years with an extension, if he plays.
He’s got a very good contract offer and he should think he’s at Sunderland football club and try and force his way into the team. If he can’t quite get into the team, then there is an option for him to out on loan but I would think that he’s getting to an age where he wants to feel as if he’s in and around the place having gone out and had a decent loan spell.
When you’re talking about the argument ‘have we ultimately offered him enough money?’, well I would say that we’ve offered him more than enough money.
The club would like to keep soon to be out of contract right-back Adam Matthews but Donald is unsure whether the Welsh international would fit within the club’s structure next season:
Jack will now talk to the players because League One or Championship makes a big difference.
I think purely in respect of Jack [Ross] not having had the conversation with Adam yet, Adam’s on decent Championship money. We would keep Adam and pay him but he’s got to fit within our structure and I don’t think that might not work for him.
Reece James is also nearing the end of his contract but the left-back has a year option that is down to the player to activate, which he has not taken up yet.
There’s a one-year option on that, in Reece’s favour. So that’s for Reece to come back to us and has hasn’t as of yet, he hasn’t exercised the option yet.
As expected back up Dutch goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter will leave the club this summer:
Robbin Ruiter will go, yeah.
But promising Swedish forward Benjamin Kimpioka, who still has one-year remaining on his current deal, has been offered an improved contract. With Donald saying that manager Jack Ross is a big fan of the 19-year-old:
We have given him a contract offer, his agent is coming back to us. We’re talking direct with Benji as well.
I would be amazed if he doesn’t extend his contract with us, it’s a nice offer, a good offer and I think with where he is, it just makes perfect sense for him to sign it.
So I would be very hopeful over the next period that he would extend his contract with us.
I think Ross would like Benji to extend his contract with us. We wouldn’t offer - I know the view is that I signed Will Grigg for Jack but I didn’t, Jack chooses all the players. Will Grigg was Jack’s number one target - contracts to people that the manager doesn’t want.
If Jack didn’t want Benji or didn’t see a future in him, then we wouldn’t have given him the offer that we have given him. Jack’s enthusiasm for Benji meant that he’s got quite a nice increase, quite a lengthy deal and some good rewards if he plays and I think Jack sees that he may well have some potential.
You can listen to the latest edition of the Roker Rapport podcast with Stewart Donald and Charlie Methven later this evening - a podcast that is by far the longest one with Sunderland’s owners yet - as they discuss their first season in charge, their aims for next season, the financial situation surrounding the club and player contracts, as well as much, much more.