Sunderland favourite Kevin Phillips believes that keeping Luke O’Nien will be huge for the club as he closes in on a new deal with the club.
The 27-year-old has been an important player for the Black Cats since arriving from Wycombe three years ago, but with his contract expiring in the summer, there were doubts about his future as Championship clubs showed an interest.
However, reports in the past few days have indicated that O’Nien is close to extending his stay at the Stadium of Light.
And, speaking to Football Insider, Phillips made it clear that securing the defender on a new deal is a massive boost for Lee Johnson.
“It’s great news to hear. He loves the football club and he plays with his heart on his sleeve. You can tell that he cares and that is a big thing. Not only that but he is a fantastic player who will do a job wherever you put him on the pitch.
“It will be great if they can get that over the line because then they can concentrate on other areas. It would be a big boost for the club if he signed a new deal.”
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There won’t be many fans who disagree with Phillips’ assessment because O’Nien was crucial to the team last season, whilst his versatility and character make him a popular figure with the coaches and the support.
It was no surprise to see interest from the league above, so it will be a bit of a coup for the Black Cats to get this sorted.
Now, it’s about finalising the deal and then attention will turn to strengthening other areas of the squad in the coming weeks as Johnson looks to build a squad that can win promotion.
Thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.