OUT OF CONTRACT PLAYERS: WHO STAYS AND WHO GOES?



Sunderland have 14 players out of contract this summer. Based on the assumption that we’ll go up, here’s my verdict on who we should keep and who we should bin.


1. LEE BURGE

This is a difficult one as although Lee Burge hasn't done an awful lot wrong this season, he should never have been our first chioce goalkeeper. Failure to tie John McLaughlin down to a new deal meant that Burge was No1, with Remi Matthews brought in to be his understudy by Phil Parkinson. I have no problem with Burge is decent in League One, but I can't see the 28 year old cutting it in The Championship. Therefore, I wouldn't be surprised if Lee Johnson felt the best option for both parties would be to part ways with Lee Burge at the end of the season.

Verdict: Release


2. GRANT LEADBITTER

Another difficult decision to make as Leadbitter is a club legend, but is he benefitting the system that LJ wants to play? He seems to slow the game down every time he gets on the ball. I can't make a case for Grant being given a new contract other than his influence within the dressing room, and with the likes of Winchester, Scowen and Power all better options in my opinion, I would like to see Leadbitter bow out at Sunderland hopefully on the back of a promotion winning campaign, or given a coaching role.

Verdict: Release/retire


3. CHRIS MAGUIRE

I'm not quite sure what has happened to Chris Maguire this season, but since Lee Johnson's appointment he has barely had a sniff of first team football. He scored that outstanding volley to draw us level against Crewe, but he’s has ultimately found his game time to come few and far between this season. I think given the Scots age and the level of football that we are looking to play next season, Maguire is only somebody I see as a squad player rather than a regular starter. That being said an injury to Aidan McGeady or Lynden Gooch could open up the opportunity for him to get some game time, so in my opinion it would make sense to offer him another year for the purposes of squad depth.

Verdict: Offer another year


4. LUKE O'NIEN

Probably the easiest decision the club could make, O'Nien has to be offered a new deal. His surprise adaptation to playing as a central defender alongside Dion Sanderson is one of the key reasons why O'Nien is such a crucial element to the Sunderland squad. I would like to see him pushed further forward once our defensive options return from their respective injuries but there is no reason for me why there would be any doubts about whether O'Nien is good enough to continue playing for Sunderland in The Championship.

Verdict: Offer new long-term deal


5. JORDAN WILLIS

The centre back had his season ended prematurely by an ACL injury sustained in the defeat at Shrewsbury and there have been doubts about whether his injury record is too much of a risk for Sunderland to offer him a new deal. For me Sunderland have to either sign an adequate replacement for Willis or give him another chance next season, provided that he would want to stay at the club. It would be harsh for Willis' Sunderland career to have to end the way it has so I would like to see him offered a new deal, perhaps for another year to get himself back to full fitness and show what he is worth.

Verdict: Offer another year


6. CHARLIE WYKE

At the time of writing Wyke has scored 26 goals in all competitions. Can Wyke do it in the Championship is the question that everyone will be asking though, but for me given how prolific he has been in front of goal this season, it would be utterly bizarre to not offer him a new deal and so I expect him to extend his stay at Sunderland into the 2021/22 campaign.

Verdict: Offer another year


7. DENVER HUME

I rate Denver Hume highly and think he is one of our best young prospects, so for me it would make complete sense for the club to extend his deal and continue developing him into our first choice left back. The 22 year-old is stepping up his recovery from a hamstring tear and it will be a welcome site to see him back in the starting eleven with McFadzean struggling to match the standards that the youngster can bring in terms of pace and crossing ability.

Verdict: Offer new long-term deal


8. CALLUM MCFADZEAN

I won't be too critical of McFadzean as he has had a decent run of games of late and looked the part at Wembley and also scored his first Sunderland goal against Lincoln City. I feel it’s fair to say that he’s an average L1 full; back and we need to move on from that. So, for me personally I think the best option for McFadzean would be to seek first-team at another League One club should Sunderland get promoted.

Verdict: Release


9. JACK DIAMOND

Jack is an exciting young prospect and somebody that I think could benefit from going out on loan to gain more first team experience, he sparked into life in Lee Johnson's second game in charge in the hammering of Lincoln City and I think he has a very bright future ahead of him as a Sunderland player. That being said he needs a proper run of games to really get to grips with the game and I think a loan spell would really do him the world of good.

Verdict: Offer new long-term deal and loan out


10. REMI MATTHEWS

Remi Matthews was brought in by Phil Parkinson and has never really found his feet at Sunderland, his calamity of errors in the defeat to Shrewsbury Town highlighted the gulf in class between him and Lee Burge and since then Matthews hasn't featured for Lee Johnson's side. I think Matthews is better suited to a lower level and it would make sense for Sunderland to release the goalkeeper and bring Anthony Patterson through for further development.

Verdict: Release


11. MAX POWER

When you look at the Max Power we are seeing under Lee Johnson, compared to with Phil Parkinson, he's like a brand-new player. He does still have a mistake in him, but I won't be too critical because he has really found his feet under LJ when it looked for all of the world as though his Sunderland career was rapidly petering out. I think Power is a very affective squad player and is definitely making a case for a contract extension with his improved performances of late.

Verdict: Offer new deal


12. AIDEN MCGEADY

This is a controversial one as McGeady is a real fan favourite in League One and his partnership alongside Wyke has been a joy to watch. However, McGeady is approaching 35 and is not going to be able to play every game next season, nor will he be as affective at a higher level. That being said it wouldn't be a bad investment for Sunderland to extend his contract for another season, as on his day he is a real game-changer and it's always good to have somebody with the ability to change the game on the bench.

Verdict: Offer another year


13. JOSH SCOWEN

Scowen is a frustrating one, he's never really set the world alight at Sunderland, but is super hard working. I think there is ability there and the fact that LJ keeps picking him can only mean that he sees him having a positive impact on a game. If he is to be kept on Scowen would need to be more consistent and start producing more goals and assists, as would his midfield counterparts, so for me I think a year extension would be fair.

Verdict: Offer another year


14. BENJI KIMPIOKA

The winger has endured a frustrating time with injuries, but Sunderland do have the option to extend the Swede's contract for another year. I see potential in Kimpokia and would definitely like to see him feature more under Lee Johnson, so activating the option for another year would be shrewd business for the club.

Verdict: Activate one year extension