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Roker Roundtable: “Hands off!” — Which Sunderland players shouldn’t be for sale?

Our group of young and exciting footballers have drawn many admirers after their efforts last season, but which players should be kept at the Stadium of Light at all costs?

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Joseph Tulip says…

At this stage of the summer I’d like to put the shutters up and say ‘nobody is for sale’ - we have an excellent side which has just finished 6th in the Championship, and while some loan players have returned to their parent club, we’ve already recruited ambitiously to bolster the squad.

As we approach pre-season, from a completely footballing perspective I’d hate to see our progress dented by the sudden departure of even one of our key players.

It is a sad realty, however, that every player has their price. It speaks volumes that Dennis Cirkin signed a new contract and hopefully it shows that players tipped for the very top of the game are happy to remain at Sunderland and develop at the same rate as the club.

I don’t want anyone to leave, but if a big offer or two was to come in, it would be interesting to see how our hierarchy respond. We’re in a strong position, far from desperate to sell, so any departure would surely be cushioned by a handsome transfer fee which would soften the blow.

I also believe that our recruitment is so thorough these days, that we wouldn’t leave ourselves short in any area of the pitch, even if someone was to leave.

We arguably did last season, in terms of striking and defensive cover, but I don’t see that happening again.

Preston North End v Sunderland: Sky Bet Championship Photo by Ian Horrocks/Sunderland AFC via Getty Images

Kev Campbell says…

It’s got to be Anthony Patterson.

When you sit down and think about Patto’s progression at Sunderland it’s absolutely mind boggling.

Two years ago this summer, our current first-choice keeper was preparing for another season with our youth team before being shipped off for a loan spell at Notts County, and now he’s become a quality Championship number one.

For much of last season, he looked like one of the best goalkeepers in the division, and that was as he sat behind a makeshift back four for a number of games.

He had some spectacular performances and made some absolute world class saves, including one against Fulham in the FA Cup that I definitely won’t soon forget. He’s only just turned twenty three and if you think about his progression over the last two years, I think his ceiling can be sky high.

As the club continue to progress, he’s a player that we must hold onto at all costs.

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Gav says...

I’m going to go slightly left-field with my answer and say Pierre Ekwah.

There are other players that I would be more disappointed to lose, but with Ekwah I feel as though we’ve only just scratched the surface of what he’s capable of, and that had the season gone on another ten games we would have seen this lad morph into a colossus.

I think of all the young players we have, Ekwah is one of the ones with the highest ceilings, and if he was snatched away from us now I’d be absolutely gutted, wondering what might have been.

I’m really not sure how good that this lad is going to become, and that’s what excites me most. In glimpses of his play - especially towards the end of the season - it was like watching a young Yaya Toure in the centre of the park, and a year from now we could be sat here talking about one of the hottest midfield talents in England being on our books if he has a consistent season in the Championship.

So for that reason I put forward Pierre Ekwah, even if he’s not the most glamorous player in the squad. To me he’s got bags and bags of potential and could well become an unbelievable asset to this football club in a short space of time, fulfilling his potential and becoming the footballer that he was touted to become when he was on the books of Chelsea.

For that reason, I think Ekwah has to be kept at Sunderland at all costs this summer.

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