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Roker Roundtable: What do you think of the speculation surrounding Ross Stewart’s future?

The talismanic striker has regularly been linked with a move away from Sunderland, so we asked our writers to cut through the white noise and have their say on how the land currently lies

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Tom Albrighton says…

Speculation around Stewart is just that: noise.

We’re all well-versed enough to know that in football, too many agents have far too much to say, whilst we rarely hear directly from a player themselves. In relation to Stewart, it feels that this is exactly what’s happening.

Time will tell if he actually does leave, but for now it seems that nothing is forthcoming and a good offer is on the table for a striker who, according to reports, is happy to stay.

Of course, it’s only natural that agents should shoot their mouths off to very specific people who’ll amplify those words accordingly, as per the terms of a mutually beneficial relationship for those working in the press.

For now though, we should deal in reality and the reality is that Stewart is our player, he’s fit, and he’s scoring goals.

Speculation has had little effect on the Scotsman and I suspect it’ll continue to do so. In the age of social media and accessible journalists, agents know exactly what they’re doing and given that many footballers aren’t stupid, they’re fully aware themselves.

There will be a day when Stewart leaves - be it in the near or distant future - but rather than worrying about ‘what if’s?’, we’d be better served by blocking out the noise and enjoying watching one of our best strikers in years.

Blackpool v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Dave Howarth - CameraSport via Getty Images

Phil West says…

I’m not going to lose any sleep over Ross Stewart’s current situation.

The man is a brilliant footballer and he’s central to everything that’s good about us on the field, but I’ve seen iconic Sunderland strikers come and go frequently since my love affair with the club began in 1996. If I can get over the likes of Russell, Bridges, Phillips and Bent leaving, this one can certainly be dealt with as well- if and when he does depart.

As Tom rightly points out, it’s obvious that Stewart is fully committed to the club, and his performances have not been that of a player who’s downed tools and whose head is elsewhere. He’s a top professional and I’ve got no doubts that he’ll continue to give his all every time he plays for us, transfer saga or no transfer saga.

Regarding his contractual situation, it’s easy to yell ‘pay him what he wants!’ from afar, but the reality is that there has to be give and take on both sides as they attempt to reach an agreement.

Talk of breaking the wage structure and doing whatever it takes to keep him on Wearside isn’t unexpected, but prudent financial management is the order of the day at the club, and I don’t expect that to change.

The fact that there’s so much rumoured interest in Stewart also shows that we’ve actually got some players with genuine resale value as opposed to the bargain-bin driftwood that clogged up our squad for years. If he does eventually leave, the acid test will be replacing him, and who’s to say we can’t?

Kyle Garrett says…

It’s natural.

The best strikers in the Championship are always in demand. Ben Brereton Diaz, for example, was on the wish list of every team in the bottom half of the Premier League during summer, and he’s still at Blackburn.

I understand that Stewart doesn’t have long left on his contract but the club have protected themselves by having a year’s extension which can be activated if they wish.

Speculation was bound to occur because agents want their clients to get as much money as possible so they do too. Make no mistake: they know what they’re doing.

It sounds like Stewart is happy at the moment, and for as long as he’s scoring goals in red and white, so am I!

Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says…

During the past few transfer windows, we’ve seen that the club’s recruitment team is working in a different way.

Gone are the leaks which told us about every in and out before they happened, because we’re a more professional outfit these days, and credit must go to the recruitment team working under Kristjaan Speakman for that.

Due to that alone, I think this is probably all just agent and media-driven rubbish being tactically leaked to pad out space left by the fact that they aren’t getting news about one of the biggest clubs in the country any more - especially during this window when we have some hot property on our books.

It also seems likely that it’s happening in order to artificially inflate figures, which will doubtless benefit agents if moves do transpire.

It’ll all come out in the wash towards the end of the month and whatever happens, we’ll either have received a large sum of cash for Stewart, or we’ll still have a player with well over a year remaining on his deal.

If Stewart leaves, then we should’ve brought in replacements using the money from his sale, or using existing funds, assuming the income is on the way.

I’d urge everyone to ignore the waffle and trust the process.

That’s what I intend to do and if it turns out to be wrong, I’ll criticise the club when I know they deserve it.

The recruitment team have a decent record under Speakman and we should hope that it continues, as we’ve got no reason to believe they’ll be any less capable during this window than they were last summer.

Keep the faith!

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