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Opinion: Sunderland should not offload 2018 signing amid January exit talk



Tom Flanagan should not be allowed to leave the Stadium of Light in January having been such a crucial player for Sunderland in recent years.

The 30-year-old’s contract runs out in the summer and according to Football Insider there is a trio of Championship clubs monitoring his progress.

Flanagan has been a consistent player for the Black Cats and has played a key role in the club’s endeavours to earn promotion back to the second tier. With a lack of experience beneath him in the squad there is no way his exit should take place in January.

Callum Doyle has performed admirably since arriving on loan from Manchester City and Bailey Wright is a credible backup centre back option in the third tier. However, after that pairing there is the unknown quantity of Frederik Alves, and two long term absentees in Arbenit Xhemajli and Jordan Willis.

Flanagan will take some replacing and in such a tetchy unpredictable market as January you want to keep hold of your best players. The interest may well turn the Northern Irishman’s head looking longer term, but that does not mean he would not stay committed and want to finish what he started as the Black Cats began life in League One in 2019/20.

In the crunch encounters that will come towards the end of the season, if Sunderland can keep pace with the promotion race, experience of being there before will help the Wearside club and especially players who have felt the pain of recent years giving them an added motivation.

Quiz: Have Sunderland ever won an away game at each of these 20 stadiums?

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Newcastle - St. James' Park?

Flanagan has possibly been Sunderland’s standout central defender this season and to lose him would put significant pressure on the other defenders at the club to step up in his absence.

Whether they can convince him to sign a new contract or not, it would be worthwhile to keep Flanagan to see out the campaign and where Sunderland end up and let him leave for free in the summer, than to unsettle the dressing room and the continuity of Lee Johnson’s side by cashing in on him for a small fee come the turn of the year.

Passionate Football League obsessive and long-suffering Charlton Athletic supporter.

ScoopDragon Football News Network

Article title: Opinion: Sunderland should not offload 2018 signing amid January exit talk

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