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“Selling Lynden Gooch would be a mistake from Sunderland!”

The American has recently been linked with a move to Queens Park Rangers, but as Michael Dunne writes, Gooch remains an important figure at the Stadium of Light

Photo by Michael Driver/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

In many ways, I can’t wait for this transfer window to end.

It might just be my mood or temperament, but I’m finding the constant gossip and rumours far more exhausting in comparison to previous seasons.

Many of the conversations surrounding the club’s transfers at present are focused on the ongoing hunt for a striker, with the long search hopefully set to bring positive results.

In recent weeks, whispers have circulated that the club won’t stand in the way of the potential departures of the experienced trio of Danny Batth, Alex Pritchard and Lynden Gooch.

Due to a change of policy surrounding transfers and contracts, it appears that long-term deals are rarely going to be given to players who are in their late twenties or early thirties.

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Weeks ago, it had been more or less stated by Tony Mowbray that there was a strong possibility of Batth leaving, and the head coach confirmed at the weekend that he may be followed out of the door by Pritchard.

I like Pritch. Pritch is a good player.

I don’t want to get too prescriptive about it, but it looks like Pritch is going to leave the football club. We have to move past that, we have to move on – that’s football.

Alongside the aforementioned pair, murmurings have suggested that Gooch may be joining them.

In a new development yesterday, journalist Alan Nixon suggested that QPR are monitoring the academy product and will do a deal, but only if ‘the price is right’.

In the cases of Batth and Pritchard, you could make an argument for them moving on, due to their age and supposed high wages. Furthermore, after the signings of Jenson Seelt and Nectarios Triantis, there’s plenty of cover for the centre of defence.

In the case of Pritchard, the signings of Jobe and Bradley Dack, along with the emergence of Chris Rigg, suggest that we may be stacked for options in his position.

Whether we like it or not, this is the way the club operates now.

In the case of Batth especially, it seems harsh to move on a player who was certainly one of our standout performers last season.

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When it comes to the future of Gooch, I fail to see the point in speeding up his departure from the club. A former academy product, the American has been extremely loyal to us during some of our toughest times in recent years.

Clearly we have better options available but his versatility has been crucial throughout his time here.

During 2022/2023, he showed himself to be capable of playing at Championship level, making thirty appearances altogether and covering a variety of positions whenever our injury crisis flared up.

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At various stages last season, Gooch played at full back, wing back, as a winger, behind the striker and I’m almost certain he played up front at one stage as well.

It’s almost crucial to keep a player like this at the club.

His selflessness and passion for Sunderland ensures that he’ll play anywhere to help the team, and considering the amount of injuries we had last season, having a player with such a reliable fitness record is key.

Unless he’s actively looking to leave, it seems bizarre to me that we’d let a player go who can be such a crucial squad member, as well as someone who loves the club and whose wages are certainly at the lower end of the scale.

For the first time, I find myself questioning our transfer policy because if anything, having players Luke O’Nien and Dan Neil, along with Gooch, are crucial to an ever-changing squad.

These players know the fans, the city and the club inside out, and selling Gooch would be a mistake. I hope it doesn’t happen.


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