Sam Allardyce hopes to finalise a new deal for Sunderland hot prospect Duncan Watmore “as soon as possible”.
Allardyce declared last week that all contract talks with the senior members of Sunderland’s squad were on ice, until the Black Cats’ Premier League status was assured.
He’s one you would see becoming a first-team regularSam Allardyce
But Watmore is an exception, with the 21-year-old – whose current deal expires next summer – attracting interest from several Premier League and Championship clubs.
Watmore, who impressed as a substitute in his first outing under Allardyce in Sunday’s 6-2 rout at Everton, has earned England Under-21 honours this season and the Sunderland managers firmly sees the forward as part of his plans.
Allardyce told the Echo: “Duncan Watmore is one we’d like to resolve as soon as possible.
“He is a different case to the others because he’s a young player and he’s one who down the line, you would see making a big contribution to the first-team.
“He’s one you would see becoming a first-team regular.”
The Echo understands that Watmore’s camp was due to hold discussions with Sunderland last month, but the exit of Dick Advocaat and appointment of Sam Allardyce led to those talks being postponed.
Fresh negotiations are expected to take place during the fortnight’s international break, which follows this Saturday’s clash against Southampton.
But Watmore IS thought to be eager to remain at the Stadium of Light and is as keen as Allardyce to resolve the situation quickly with a fresh contract.
The ex-Altrincham man feels settled at the club and has been genuinely taken aback by the swell of goodwill from Sunderland supporters to his introduction to the first-team this season.
The promotion of ex-U21 coach Robbie Stockdale to Allardyce’s backroom team is also a plus point for Watmore.
However, Watmore will want assurances about continuing to be part of the first-team squad, even if it means developing his competitive experience with a brief loan spell in the Championship.
And Sunderland would also need to hand Watmore a pay rise from the terms he agreed 14 months ago.
Since then, Watmore has been capped on a couple of occasions by England U21s and made his Premier League bow for the Black Cats.