Why Sunderland will have to pay a 'substantial' sum to land rumoured defensive target
Sunderland have been linked with a move for Oxford United defender Curtis Nelson - but have been warned they will have to pay a 'substantial' sum to land him.
The Oxford Mail claim that the centre back is attracting interest from the Black Cats ahead of the January transfer window - with manager Jack Ross thought to be eyeing defensive recruits.
Nelson, 25, has been a standout performer for the U's and is set to attract plenty of interest in the winter window with his current contract set to expire in the summer.
Talks over a new deal stalled earlier in the year, with Nelson stripped of the captaincy as a result.
But despite having only six months remaining on his current deal, manager Karl Robinson has revealed that Nelson will only leave for a 'substantial' sum due to his undoubted ability.
"Every player has a price tag, it’s as simple as that," said the Oxford boss.
“At this level of English football you can’t ever say not one player will be sold.
“There’s a substantial price tag on Curtis Nelson’s head and we’re not going to budge from that.
“With someone who is a talented player, there will always be people who will ask that question.
“I’d like to think that it will be done in a correct way, if it’s done. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Robinson was quizzed on the Black Cats' reported interest in Nelson, but said he was unaware of any links to Wearside.
Nelson is vastly-experienced in the third tier, having previously played for Plymouth Argyle before joining Oxford in a deal worth over Â£250,000 in 2016.
He was also linked with a move to the Stadium of Light in 2011, when Steve Bruce was at the helm.
However, his career has been plagued with some long-term injuries, and Robinson has warned Nelson to bare his injury past in mind when eyeing new clubs - suggesting security at the Kassam Stadium may be a better option.
“Players at this level earn fantastic money, but it’s not the money that lasts a lifetime," he added.
“So you’re gambling. That’s not just Nelse, it’s a number of players.
“Sometimes you’re best having your contract sorted out with an agreement that when an opportunity comes to move on