Sunderland’s Seven Out Of Contract Players: Should They Be Offered New Deals?

With Sunderland recently earning a spot in the League One playoff final, after semi final victory over Sheffield Wednesday, I will be looking at their seven out of contract players and giving my opinion on whether they should be kept on by the club.

Aiden McGeady – Irish International McGeady is a game-changer on his day and has been Sunderland’s star man during their spell in League One. 

On the other hand, the former Celtic man is now 36 and is likely on a high wage compared to other players in the division. Along with that, the winger has not made an appearance for the club since November due to injury. 

Arbenit Xhemajli – The Kosovan was signed from Neuchâtel Xamax and came highly rated with former manager Lee Johnson claiming the centre back was one of the best in the division before he’d even made his debut.  

The 24-year-old has spent the majority out injured with an anterior cruciate ligament problem keeping him out for over a year and whilst he did impress in his three appearances for the club this season hasn’t been able to secure himself a spot in the starting eleven. 

Verdict – Release  

Lee Burge – Burge was signed on a free from Coventry City in 2019 as competition to then Sunderland goalkeeper Jon McLaughlin and became number one when the Scotsman left the club. 

However, this season he was replaced by loanee Ron-Thorben Hoffmann at the start of the season, and then due to the rise of academy product Anthony Patterson has become the third-choice keeper at the club. 

Verdict – Release 

Patrick Roberts – England youth international Roberts has clear talent and signed for the club in January on an initial six-month deal looking to secure himself a home after constant loan spells since he signed for Manchester City in 2015. 

2J7J0H7 Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, England – 9th May 2022 Patrick Roberts (77) of Sunderland after he scored to make it 1 – 1 during the game Sheffield Wednesday v Sunderland, Sky Bet League One, (play off second leg) 2021/22, Hillsborough Stadium, Sheffield, England – 9th May 2022 Credit: Arthur Haigh/WhiteRosePhotos/Alamy Live News

The winger has undoubted talent and despite only scoring twice and setting up one in 16 appearances he has made an impact on the wing and could be a real asset for the club in the coming years 

Verdict – Keep 

Bailey Wright – Wright has been integral to Sunderland’s playoff charge and is forming a great partnership with fellow centre-back Danny Batth with the duo being excellent in Sunderland’s unbeaten run. 

The Australian joined the club in 2020 after a successful loan spell and has made 89 appearances for the club including 37 in the league this season. With a lot of experience in the championship along with 24 international caps, it seems a no-brainer to keep Wright on for a little longer. 

Verdict – Keep 

Jordan Willis – Since signing for the club from Coventry in 2019 Willis has had a very injury-hit time at Sunderland and many believe that he would have been released last year if it were not for the club helping Willis with his recovery from injury. 

The centre-back has not featured for the club this season and has been out for a year and a half with a ruptured patella. Willis is a top centre-back at this level on his day however considering his key attributes were physical it is unlikely the 27-year-old will be the same player upon his return. 

Verdict – Release (unless his recovery is still a way off) 

Lynden Gooch – Academy product Gooch has had a very hit and miss season for the Black Cats however has shown his versatility in the process. The American international has played on both wings, full back and, even featured in central midfield on occasion. 

Lynden Gooch in action in Sunderland’s 5-0 over Morecambe earlier in the season

Gooch has made 211 appearances for the club, scoring 25 goals, and always gives 100% when he plays. He has made the right-wing back position his own under Alex Neil and given the club plenty to think about when it comes to his contract. 

Verdict – Keep