Phil Parkinson could see more than a full team of Sunderland players leave this summer. Twelve squad members are coming to the end of their contract, several of them key first-team players. No matter which division Sunderland are in next season, Parkinson and the fans will want the contract situation sorted as soon as possible, especially for some fan favourites.
One piece of good news is that due to the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak, FIFA have announced plans to extend any contracts about come to an end to when the season concludes. Any current loan deals will also be extended.
Sunderland Players Out of Contract
Goalkeeper – Jon McLaughlin
Number one at the club since his arrival in 2018, Jon McLaughlin was a key player in his first season. After a tough start to the current campaign, the Scottish international has regained his form. Should the Black Cats lose their keeper, it would be a big loss. Manager Phil Parkinson is keen for shot-stopper to stay and the player is also keen to stay on Wearside. However, contract talks have yet to begin.
Should talks over a new deal not materialise, McLaughlin should not be short of offers. The latest club reportedly interested is Blackburn Rovers. According to Lancashire Live, Rovers’ boss is keen on McLaughlin having looked at him during the January transfer window.
Defenders – Luke O’Nien, Joel Lynch, Alim Ozturk, Tommy Smith, Tom Flanagan
Phil Parkinson could potentially lose an entire defence at the end of the current season. One player who he and the fans will not want to lose is Luke O’Nien. The midfielder turned right-back has developed in a key player and a fan favourite. The club have the option to extend O’Nien’s contract by a further year. However, as yet, this has not been triggered.
Fellow defenders, Alim Ozturk, Joel Lynch, Tommy Smith and Northern Ireland international Tom Flanagan are also close to their contracts expiring. Lynch has been a bit-part player since signing a one year deal last summer and Tommy Smith, who signed on a free in February, has not featured. These two could be allowed to leave no matter which division the club find themselves in. Ozturk has been in and out of the team but has looked solid for the majority of the time he has played.
Tom Flanagan has had a tough time since his arrival in 2018. The versatile defender is keen however to extend his stay. On his future, Flanagan said: “Yeah, definitely [like to stay]. I’ve got a young family who love it up here. I mean the football club… it will be something special for me to just turn my back and walk away. I can’t see that happening.”
“But ultimately it’s in the club’s hands, so if it’s something that they’re not interested in then obviously I’m not going to have a choice.”
Forwards – Chris Maguire, Duncan Watmore, Kyle Lafferty and Benji Kimpioka
Chris Maguire, labelled the ‘The King’ by fans, will undoubtedly one player who they will want to see again next season. Like fellow fan-favourite Luke O’Nien, the club have the option to extend his contract by a further year. Due to his form for the majority of his time at the club, it would be a surprise if the club did not extend Maguire’s contract.
Youngster Benji Kimpioka has recently been offered a new four-year deal. As yet, the talented forward has yet to sign. The 20-year-old has yet to establish himself in the first-team squad but is highly thought of.
Duncan Watmore, who has been at the club for almost seven years, could also be looking for a new club soon. The flying winger has had serious injuries which has blighted his time on Wearside. When fit, Watmore can be a valuable first-team member. However, his injury record could play a part in whether he is offered a new deal. North East rivals Middlesbrough have been linked with him and teammate Lynden Gooch
Northern Ireland international Kyle Lafferty, who joined in January, could also be set to look for a new club once again. Lafferty has impressed when he has featured and appears to be the type of striker which Phil Parkinson likes to use in his favoured formation. Should he continue to prove his worth, a new deal is likely.
Whatever happens with the Sunderland players who are out of contract soon, it is unlikely that fans will see anything signed until after the current situation we find ourselves in has eased.