Sunderland have 21 players that are currently due to see their contracts on Wearside expire this coming summer. Head coach Lee Johnson will want to strengthen his squad during this time; however, there are players Sunderland must sign to new contracts to keep the squad as strong as possible.
Here is look at just eight of those out of contract this summer. The players that fans will be hoping to extend their stay as they search for promotion back got the Championship.
The Eight Players Sunderland Must Sign to New Contracts
Signed as a midfielder, O’Nien has made the right-back position his own when fit. A fan-favourite, O’Nien is a consistent and versatile performer and would be a huge miss should he leave. Equally comfortable in midfield, he has also filled in at left-back and in central defence when required. Former manager Jack Ross described O’Nien as one of “the best finishers at the club”. Should O’Nien depart, he is likely to have many clubs eager for his signature.
When on form, Maguire is one of the best in the division; however, he is prone to inconstant spells. Another fan-favourite, the forward was soon christened “The King” following his arrival. Maguire can score spectacular goals and open up the opposition defence with his skill. At 32-years-old, time is not on his side; however, fans would still like to see him stay and should he find form, it will be difficult for the club not to offer him an extended deal.
Several weeks ago, a discussion about McGeady staying on Wearside would have been pointless. Cast aside by former manager Phil Parkinson, the talented winger had little chance of featuring following a year in the wilderness. However, Parkinson’s sacking brought a return to the first team for the Republic of Ireland international. New head coach Johnson appears to see McGeady as a key player but at 34, a new deal is not certain due to the various EFL restrictions and salary cap.
It would be a big surprise if the 22-year-old was not offered a new deal. Hume has, when fit, had the left-back/left-wingback role to himself for the past 18 months. The academy graduate is not the finished article but is improving. His ability to get up and down the left side has helped the side both defensively and in attack where the youngster enjoys getting to the byline. Due to the lack of competition in his area of the field, Hume has occasionally suffered from inconsistency. However, with Lee Johnson looking to strengthen several areas, including at left-back, Hume could benefit from the added pressure of competition.
Another academy graduate, England youth international Embleton can be a top performer at League One level and above. The past 12 months have been frustrating for the youngster due to injury restricting his game time. The next six months could be huge for the talented midfielder and he will be desperate to play as much as possible.
Forward Diamond impressed on loan at Harrogate Town last season, helping the club win promotion to the Football League for the first time in their history. Lee Johnson appears to have faith in the young winger and he has impressed since breaking into the first-team since the new head coach arrived. Far from the finished article but he has shown enough ability to deserve a new contract. The more Diamond plays and the more he learns, the better and more important to the team he will become.
Willis has proved to be a consistent performer since arriving from Coventry City in 2019. The central defender, who is comfortable in a back four or a back three, is talented enough to make the move to the Championship with ease. Whether that is with Sunderland remains to be seen. Should the Black Cats fail to win promotion this season, they could find it difficult to keep Willis at the Stadium of Light
An important player for the Black Cats since signing from Wigan Athletic in 2018. A player who wears his heart on his sleeve, he took the captaincy last summer. Debates have gone on since he joined about what his best midfield role is. Power is a player who enjoys getting forward but has been asked for the majority of his time on Wearside to play a deeper role. A player how could make the step up to the Championship without any issues, it is unlikely that Sunderland will want to lose their current captain.
Although these eight are the players Sunderland must sign to new deals as soon as possible in the opinion of many, many more are coming to the end of their current deals. The club and their fans will be hoping others, especially the promising youngsters such as defender Brandon Taylor and goalkeeper Anthony Patterson are also kept at the club.