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Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship

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Fan Letters: “No player is bigger than the club!”

A view on Ross Stewart’s contract negotiations, positions we need to strengthen and not opting to sign Édouard Michut - all in the latest RR mailbag! Got something to say? Email us:

Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

This contract has now been negotiated for over 18 months. No player is bigger than the club.

Clearly he is dragging his feet. It is time for the club to make that decision for him.

The club must now transfer list him, giving the message, over the close season. He is not irreplaceable and other targets are now being sort.

This may concentrate his mind on where he wants to be!


Ed’s Note [Chris]: I assume this is in reference to Ross Stewart, John - and who knows where the current negotiations are but it’s an interesting one from both sides. Stewart will turn 27 over the summer and considering he has made the step up late in his career to a position where big-money could be earned, nobody should blame him if he’s trying to get the best deal for himself.

It’s also been a season blighted by injury so it’s something to be taken into account for the player, Sunderland and anyone prospective buyer - but I suspect he’ll sign on for longer with the Lads during the summer.

Sunderland v Middlesbrough - Sky Bet Championship
Ross Stewart
Photo by Mark Fletcher/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

Firstly let’s give credit where its due, this squad as a whole performed way above expectations.

The new lads all seem to have played their part, however big or small, the older (more senior) players have shown they can step up for the most part, and players like Luke O’Nien have shocked ever the most ardent supporters with his ability to handle multiple positions at aa higher level.

There can be no avoiding the fact that two of our most regularly played players are also amongst our weakest. Dan Neil and Lynden Gooch continually give the ball away with poor passes time and again. You can’t argue that they run their hearts out every game, but we must bring in better players in the summer (or replace them from within).

We need a ‘keeper to keep pushing Patterson (he has won me over as the season went on), at least one more striker, a right back and another big central defender.

Anyway, onwards and upwards for next season.


Ed’s Note [Chris]: It’s easy to forget that for many of the squad it’s the first time they’ve played at this level, like in the case of Dan Neil, the learning curve was steep this season in what is his second full season as a first team regular. All those young players will have another year under their belts and will hopefully grow as we do as a club.

I’m looking forward to see what players the recruitment team bring in next - it should be an interesting summer.

Sunderland v Luton Town: Sky Bet Championship Play-Off Semi-Final First Leg
Dan Neil
Photo by Alex Dodd - CameraSport via Getty Images

Dear Roker Report,

I’m disappointed we have opted not to sign Michut but do understand. Good footballer but just not big enough, and can’t see how he will develop more physically.

Think a move to a league abroad will suit him more.

Ian Hughes

Ed’s Note [Chris]: It seems the way Pierre Ekwah flourished on his introduction to the first team might have had something to do with the decision not to take Édouard Michut in a permanent deal, possibly combined with targets we’re looking to add in central midfield.

There is also the possibility that Michut didn’t fancy making the move a long-term one or asked for too much money, but he did a job in a cracking season and we wish him all the best.

West Bromwich Albion v Sunderland - Sky Bet Championship
Edouard Michut
Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images


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