Sunderland have recently been hit with a frustrating injury blow, with defender Jordan Willis being ruled out for the remainder of this year’s campaign.
Willis picked up the injury in a recent defeat to Shrewsbury Town, which means that the Black Cats are now sat seventh in the League One table.
The 26-year-old is out-of-contract at the end of the 2020/21 campaign though, which has thrown his future with Sunderland into doubt after his injury season-ending injury.
Speaking in a recent interview (quotes sourced from Chronicle Live), Sunderland boss Lee Johnson admitted that he is keen to see Willis remain with the club beyond this season, and labelled him as a ‘big player’ for the future.
“I haven’t delved into length of contracts too much, that is something that I will leave to the sporting director [Kristjaan Speakman].
“That side of things is Kristjaan’s remit, albeit with regular communication from the ownership and the coaching team.
“But I see Jordan as a big player for us for the future. I rate him really highly. I’m more than happy for him to stay here. I think he is a really good player in whichever league [League One or Championship], it’s that simple.
“We can always have those [contract] discussions, but in the short-term the important thing is that we support him in the proper way, get him the right medical treatment, and give him the best opportunity to come back in top nick.”
Sunderland are set to return to action this weekend, when they take on promotion-chasing rivals Doncaster Rovers at the Stadium of Light.
Did these former Sunderland players leave for higher or lower than the fee they arrived for?
This will be a no-brainer for Lee Johnson.
Willis has really impressed me with Sunderland, and his recent injury will be a huge blow for the Black Cats, as they target promotion into the Championship this term.
It’ll be interesting to see whether he can perform to the standards required in the Championship next season, but that all depends on whether they are to make a timely return to the second-tier in this year’s campaign.
The recent easing of salary restrictions in League One could certainly work in Sunderland’s favour, as they look to keep their best players at the club for the foreseeable future.