Sunderland are potentially heading for a mass squad exodus after defeat in the League One play-offs to Lincoln City.
A 3-2 aggregate loss to the Imps ended the Black Cats’ season a week earlier than they had planned and there will be some major soul-searching to do in the coming days to assess what went wrong.
But in more immediate pressing matters there are a whole host of contracts that need to be sorted out, with no fewer than 13 first-team players having deals that expire next month.
They include some real key players as well, such as 26-goal man Charlie Wyke, Max Power, Luke O’Nien and Lee Burge.
One other influential name on that list is Aiden McGeady, who waived an automatic one-year contract extension on the same money he’s earning now so he could start in the second leg against Lincoln.
The Irishman was praised for such a move and now his automatic extension isn’t a thing anymore, Sunderland can try and negotiate a new deal for the 35-year-old should they want to keep him.
He’s still a creative force despite his advancing years and there may be a dilemma as to whether or not Lee Johnson wants to keep McGeady – former Sunderland striker Kevin Phillips though believes that a contract will be offered to him.
What club do these 21 former Sunderland players ply their trade at now?
“I would say wages will be a decisive factor. They will want to try and keep McGeady at the club so I think they’ll make him an offer,” Phillips predicted, per Football Insider.
“They need to keep their best players if they want to go one better next season.
“He is one of the best in the division so it’s no surprise that there is Championship clubs sniffing around him.
“He showed his quality against yesterday. Whenever he gets the ball you’re on the edge of your seat. Whether it is a cross, a shot, he always does something.
“His future will boil down to finances and the player himself. Does he think now is the time to move on?”
According to SalarySport, McGeady is on £19,000 and that would no doubt put him as the top earner in League One – it would have been even bigger when the club were in the Championship – and that kind of wage isn’t sustainable for a third tier club.
McGeady will know full well that at the age of 35 that he’s not going to get that kind of money anymore wherever he goes, but considering the impact he’s had since being brought back into the fold by Lee Johnson, the club would be pretty foolish to not put an offer on the table.
Whether he signs it though is another matter as Peterborough are rumoured to have an interest in the skilful winger – even though Darragh MacAnthony denied it – and his goal contribution tally from this past season may convince a club at that level to give him one last crack.