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Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round

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What might the future hold for Alex Pritchard?

The playmaker has been linked with a move away this month, but he remains an influential figure within the squad. We asked our writers for their thoughts on what the club should do

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Ewan Bowman says...

For me, he simply has to stay. He’s been one of our best players in the last few weeks and not only that, he’s one of our only creative midfielders with proven quality.

For a while, I’ve banged the drum that every squad needs a balance of young and experienced players. Last summer, I felt we let too many experienced players leave at once and this has been obvious in a number of matches this season where our game management has been poor.

Pritchard is one of the leaders in the squad. He still offers quality and runs his heart out week in and week out. He’s also arguably our best set piece taker, so losing him will be massive.

Even with six months left on his deal, I’d keep him, but I think we need to focus on signings such as a left back, central midfielder and a new striker ahead of getting rid of Pritchard.

It would be extremely difficult to find a suitable replacement in January, and if I were in the club’s position, I’d reject any approaches for him.

Sunderland v Newcastle United - Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Malc Dugdale says...

I’m really not sure that this is the right thing for Pritchard or the club, because losing decent players in the January window is really hard to backfill successfully.

Who knows if we have someone on the way, but I hope so because if he’s moving on, he’d leave a big hole. He’s been one of the best players on the park of late, and his recent ‘player of the month’ award was well deserved.

When he plays and plays well, we connect and create better, and when he doesn’t play due to injury or being dropped, we tend to look way less threatening. The low block used against us by many sides is certainly more effective with Pritchard off the park.

His experience- especially in attack- is very welcome too. He sits among a lot of young players and his seniority and experience is important.

I’d prefer for Pritchard to stay and if he is to move on, let him go in the summer.

There’s little point in fixing our striker issues and then killing off one of the midfield options that need to feed them and can do so.

I’ve written before that I’d support Pritchard being given a year’s extension to his contract, and that remains my preference right now.


Tom Albrighton says...

The reality is that the best course of action for the club is to recoup whatever fee they can for a player who turns thirty one this year.

Whilst he’s made some excellent recent on-field contributions, his upturn in form has triggered an almost collective state of amnesia among the fans.

Although I’m a fan of Pritchard and have enjoyed watching him in a Sunderland shirt, the fact that he’s failed to notch more than five goals or more than eight assists in a season leads me to wonder if he can bring more to the side.

At thirty, his value will be unlikely to increase even with a new contract in his back pocket, and accompanied by the long-term deal Adil Aouchiche is signed to, as well as the club’s insistence on playing Jobe Bellingham in a more advanced midfield role, it wouldn’t be incorrect to assume that Pritchard’s playing time will inevitably start to fizzle out.

As with many players, we’ve seen them stay beyond their better years which has somewhat soured their departure.

Pritchard has been a good servant to this club but as both injuries and age catch up with him, it would be a shame to see him fade into obscurity.

Overall, I have nothing against Pritchard as I’ve previously mentioned, but looking at his time here through a wider lens, it’s probably beneficial for all parties to part ways.

Sunderland v Preston North End - Sky Bet Championship Photo by MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images

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