Former Sunderland forward Kevin Phillips believes star winger Aiden McGeady took a huge pay cut to stay at the Stadium of Light, as he spoke to Dylan Childs from Football Insider.
McGeady, 35, came top of the assists tally in League One last season despite only playing regularly when Lee Johnson arrived in December, recording 16 in the third tier. This is three higher than Peterborough’s Joe Ward in second place and also scored four goals himself, leading the Black Cats to a top-six finish.
With his contract previously up in the summer, there was uncertainty over whether he would sign a new deal in Wearside to extend his stay at the club. However, the 35-year-old signed a new one-year extension at the end of last month to keep him at the club for next season and has one clear goal in mind: to get Sunderland back to the Championship.
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Others, including Charlie Wyke, Denver Hume and Luke O’Nien are yet to sign a fresh deal at the Stadium of Light thus far, although Lee Johnson is hopeful of getting the latter over the line soon.
But McGeady’s extension alone going into the next campaign is a major boost and pundit Kevin Phillips thinks he must have taken a wage cut to stay.
Speaking to Football Insider about this and McGeady’s new deal in general, he said: “I really hope he picks up where he left off last season.
“It is great news that he has signed.
“It shows his commitment to the project and the club because I’m sure he took a huge cut on his wages. I think it will be a heavily incentivised contract, with the main bonus coming if he helps them get promoted next season.
“It is great for Lee Johnson because in McGeady he has got one of the best players in the league, if not the best.
“You just hope he can replicate the levels of last season. I think he will. He likes it at Sunderland and he probably feels that he owes the fans one.”
With next season being the fourth consecutive campaign Sunderland have spent in the third tier of English football, this would be no surprise especially with the Black Cats needing to make reinforcements and no revenue to be generated from Wyke’s potential move to Celtic.
They may have also taken his age into consideration but does it really matter if he’s continuing to perform well in League One? Probably not – and he will be hoping to maintain his terrific form under Lee Johnson.
After being left out in the cold by Phil Parkinson, it’s taken some character for him to come back and automatically hit the ground running. A one-year deal does make sense though, especially if he has a poor season next year.
But this is unlikely, just look at his record last season. Amazing.