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Opinion: Should Sunderland part ways with 28-year-old in January?

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Sunderland have given Aiden O’Brien plenty of gametime so far this campaign but with his contract running down and set to expire at the end of the current season, should the Black Cats let go of the attacker in January?

He’s not been cast aside by any means this campaign, having featured in a total of nine league games and started six times.

However, it’s less frequent than the amount of action that he had with the team last year and with other fresh faces stepping into the fold and replacing him in the considerations of boss Lee Johnson, he may find first-team football harder to come by – especially if they add further in the winter window.

Quiz: Have each of these 24 ex-Sunderland academy players ever played in the Premier League?

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Has former Sunderland man Duncan Watmore ever played in the Premier League?

Would it be worth offering O’Brien fresh terms then or would it be better letting him leave in the winter window for a small fee (or even a free?)

First of all, Sunderland can benefit from having the attacker in the squad. He provides a valuable option to the team, even if it is just from the bench and the amount of injuries the club have had to contend with so far this year shows the importance of his position, as he was able to step in when needed and perform solidly enough.

That being said, to let him leave on a free transfer when the winter transfer window opens would be a bad move then unless they could bring in a suitable squad player to replace him. Even if it meant losing him for nothing at the end of the current campaign, it would be a lot better than a side wanting to sign him for free in the middle of the year.

But should they offer him fresh terms?

With Sunderland in the hunt for a promotion spot – and a potential spot in the Championship next season – they could always use his second tier experience in the next campaign if they did manage to go up a division.

However, with the club having some solid options in attack and the ability to bring in some more decent options in the transfer window, it may be best if O’Brien sees out his contract and departs at the end of the year.

It looks like regular gametime is unlikely now – minus the Black Cats bringing him into the starting eleven through injury and him impressing enough to warrant not being dropped – and with the player still only 28, there is plenty of time for him to be an asset elsewhere.

He’s proven in the past he can be a regular goalscorer in League One and can offer something different in attack. He could then, become a key player elsewhere.

There are plenty of teams that could benefit from him elsewhere – and if there is the lure of regular first-team football somewhere else, then a move away either for a small fee in January or a free in summer may be the best move.


Writer for Football League World.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Should Sunderland part ways with 28-year-old in January?

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