Time is running out for Sunderland to get things done.
I imagine that those at the club in charge of contracts and recruitment are remaining patient, but with pre-season less than a month away, things need to be tied up sooner rather than later - that goes without saying.
I actually quite like all four of these players to varying degrees, but they aren’t irreplaceable. I have no idea about the nature of each player’s situation, but I imagine they’re being advised by their agents to remain patient, given that they’re all likely to receive interest from Championship clubs.
In most cases, sought-after players that are out of contract hold all the cards in negotiations, and these lads can all afford to hold on and see what offers come their way.
This is a question of how long Sunderland can afford to wait.
Are we potentially going to miss out on key targets that would replace these players?
If so, we have to set strict deadlines. If they don’t want to be here, we move on.
Like I said, they’re all good players, but they aren’t irreplaceable. They’ll all want a wage bump I’d imagine. Can we replace them with players on lower wages?
These are all questions that Speakman and co will be asking themselves this summer.
I’d give it until the week before pre-season starts.
Philip West says...
As much as I’d like this quartet of players to stay and play their part in a promotion challenge next season, the club can’t allow itself to put everything on hold for too long as they wait for them to make up their minds.
Our summer transfer business will undoubtedly be substantial, and the sooner we get clarity on whether Wyke, McGeady, Hume and O’Nien are staying or leaving, the better.
In previous summers, we’ve been guilty of dithering and going about our business in a haphazard and often panicked way.
That needs to change, without a doubt. There needs to be a ruthless focus on ensuring that we arrive at the first game in as strong a position as possible, and (hopefully) tying these players down to new contracts is a step towards that.
If Denver Hume can get a solid pre-season under his belt & can stay fit, he could undoubtedly flourish next season, and if McGeady & Wyke opt to remain, who’s to say they couldn’t dovetail for another 20+ goal contribution next season?
With all of that in mind, I think the end of June would be a fair cutoff time for the four players in question to decide whether they see their futures at the SoL or elsewhere. As useful as these players could be next season, I do think a balance has to be struck between allowing them a fair amount of time to consider their options and ensuring that we’re not left in limbo.
If they have received offers from Championship clubs, it obviously makes their decision harder, but on the other hand, I get a sense that someone like O’Nien, who clearly has an affinity for the club, might be tempted to stay and right the wrongs of recent seasons.
I don’t think there’s any need to give them an immediate ‘hurry up’, but that time will definitely come fairly quickly.
Malc Dugdale says...
I’m quite happy for the players to take until pre-season to make their decision, but if we get a week or two into the transfer window they need to know that if we are successful in the market, then they may find themselves down the pecking order when the new season starts.
As mentioned in recent articles, I have strong feelings that this season and its pre-season need to be a marked change from those that have gone before. If the coach and his team are not able to make clear plans for the season to come as players haven’t committed, then it is totally fair that we cannot commit to them that they will be part of this rebuild and push for promotion for the fourth time.
None of them are indispensable, though all of them are welcome to be part of what is hopefully our final push to get out of this league, but the club needs to be seen as bigger than any player, so if they are not happy to sign on the line, we owe them nothing.
With the new data-oriented approach, we should be more than capable of identifying others who can fill the gaps, and in places for a lot less money than we would pay these.
Change is coming lads, put your hat in, or be prepared for it to be blown off as we steam ahead.