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On This Day (25th November 2016): Pickford linked with move to Liverpool - Moyes has his say

With Sunderland’s prized asset Jordan Pickford gaining attention for his fantastic performances in the Premier League, his manager admitted it would be a challenge to keep him on Wearside for too much longer.

Photo by Plumb Images/Leicester City FC via Getty Images

In a season of sheer despair and disappointment, the emergence of local goalkeeper Jordan Pickford in the Sunderland side was a brief bright spot for the downtrodden fans of the club.

Pickford entered the season as second fiddle to club cult here Vito Manonne but swiftly gained the number one spot after a couple of games and despite a brief winter spell on the treatment table, the local boy was the number one for the entire season.

Pickford’s passion endeared him to the Sunderland fateful who like most fans love seeing one of their own doing so well at their club. He was also a very good goalkeeper with his shot-stopping ability particularly standing out given the amount of chances he had to save each game.

Chelsea v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

According to Premier League stats, Pickford was in the top five for the highest amount of saves, punches and most saves inside the box for that doomed season. Again, his performances were not going unnoticed and it did not take long for the big clubs in the Premier League to begin sniffing around the Sunderland goalkeeper.

On this day in 2016, rumours were rife that Sunderland had a struggle on their hands to keep their man at the club.

Many big clubs such as Manchester United, Arsenal and Manchester City were linked along with Liverpool around this time who were apparently keeping a keen eye on him.

In the lead up to the match against Liverpool that particular weekend, Sunderland manager David Moyes was questioned about the links and whether the club would be able to hold on to their prized asset.

FBL-ENG-PR-SUNDERLAND-CHELSEA Photo credit should read OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images

The manager suggested that the club had no intention of selling and would actually like to build a team around him, though suggested it may be difficult if big money is offered to the club.

While you are rebuilding, on the journey, if you bring players in and they do really well, some of the big clubs want them then that’s different. The difference is that Jordan is one of our own home-grown players and we certainly wouldn’t be in a hurry to do it. But if he keeps performing at the level he is, I’m sure he’s going to draw attention from big clubs.

I don’t want it to sound as if we want to sell Jordan. Far from it. It’s the complete opposite.

I want to build a team and I want to build a young, new team.

But there will be building blocks that have to be taken out to put other ones on as we go along. Jordan has got an awful lot of attributes and there’s more improvement to come from him. He’ll get better. You’ve seen the saves he’s making at the moment, for a young boy, is quite extraordinary. It really is.

In November, the goalkeeper was already making a massive impression on many teams in the league along with international recognition as Gareth Southgate had just called him to the England squad around this time.

His star continued to soar as Pickford gave the fans a sense of pride - a dim light in a season of utter darkness.

Arsenal v Sunderland - Premier League Photo by Kieran Galvin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

By the time the end of the season came, the chances of Pickford staying were extremely low with Everton surprisingly being the team he chose to join. Still at Everton, the goalkeeper has been a constant in their constant revolving door and has been the heartbeat of an English team that has come so close to winning major honours.

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