Should senior Sunderland players get new deals this summer?

Sunderland AFC's squad is set for a huge summer overhaul, regardless of which division they are in.

Thursday, 22nd March 2018, 11:36 am
Darron Gibson.

Five points adrift of Championship safety and currently plummeting towards League One, even if the Black Cats were to pull off an unlikely escape a big revamp is needed.

For a start, there are seven loan players heading for the exit door.

Everton duo Ty Browning, out for the season with a groin injury, and Brendan Galloway, who has barely featured under Chris Coleman, will return to Goodison Park in May.

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Lee Camp, signed on loan from Cardiff City, will head back to Wales while Jake Clarke-Salter, serving another suspension after his second red, will go back to Chelsea.

Ashley Fletcher, yet to score, will journey back down the A19 to Middlesbrough and Ovie Ejaria - one of the few to come out with any credit recently - will return to Liverpool.

Wales international Jonny Williams is again out injured ahead of his summer return to parent club Crystal Palace.

Further exits from the Stadium of Light are inevitable with five senior players out of contract.

We take a close look at those players and examine their chances of landing a new deal:

John O’Shea:

By his own admission, 36-year-old O’Shea wouldn’t have expected to have played so many games.

The Republic of Ireland international, who turns 37 in April, has made 33 appearances, playing through the pain barrier in recent weeks with a thigh injury.

O’Shea has come in for his fair share of criticism but the skipper’s continued presence in the Sunderland defence says much about the club’s failure to replace him properly over the past couple of seasons.

With another gruelling 46-game season on the horizon, either in the Championship or more likely the third tier, then it is unlikely O’Shea will be offered a new playing contract.

O’Shea is well respected and highly thought of within the club and a coaching role can’t be ruled out.

Verdict: No deal. Coaching role an option, though.

Billy Jones:

After four seasons at Sunderland, surely this will be the last for the right back.

Jones has struggled badly this season when he has played, with injuries limiting his game time.

At times played as an emergency centre back and it is clear he isn’t cut out for that role.

Adam Matthews, four years younger, is now in front of him in the pecking order and with Matthews still having another year to run, Sunderland will surely not renew Jones’ deal.

Verdict: No deal.

Marc Wilson:

Sunderland signed the 30-year-old centre back from Bournemouth last summer on a one-year deal and his spell on Wearside has been a disappointing one.

Another player ravaged by injury problems, a calf concern has kept him out recently, though he is closing in on a first team return.

Wilson has only made 15 appearances. Sunderland have the worst defence in the Championship.

Constant chopping and changing hasn’t helped. Sunderland need a robust, physical defence capable of playing week-in, week-out.

Wilson isn’t the answer. A complete defensive overhaul is needed.

Verdict: No deal.

Kazenga LuaLua:

Signed as a free agent in January, LuaLua is yet to start for Sunderland and has been struggling with ankle injuries.

LuaLua’s contribution so far has been restricted to four sub appearances but he could get a run for the final eight games with Ashley Fletcher and Josh Maja struggling for goals.

Physical and fast, he could be a useful player but as yet he has been unable to show it.

Given his injury problems, Sunderland are unlikely to offer him a long-term deal. A short-term deal could be an option but he needs to prove his worth first.

Verdict: Short-term pay-as-you-play deal.

Darron Gibson:

Gibson, only 30, became a key player under Coleman in December, dictating play from central midfield.

Injuries have hampered his Sunderland career and the groin injury, which ruled him out for three months, on New Year’s Day was a major blow to Sunderland’s survival hopes.

Gibson’s chances of landing a new deal were in the balance anyway given his injury record and need for Sunderland to rebuild but after he was charged with driving with excess alcohol, any chance of that happening has receded further.

Gibson was suspended by Sunderland AFC on Sunday, with the midfielder due in court in mid-April.

Verdict: No deal.