Sunderland are slowly beginning their preparations for the Sky Bet League One play-offs after Lee Johnson led his side to a top six finish after taking over the job from Phil Parkinson.
In the meantime, the Black Cats will be looking to secure a third place finish so that they head into the semi-final stages with momentum, with the North East outfit set to face the already relegated Northampton Town at the Stadium of Light on Saturday.
Meanwhile, Johnson and co will all still have one eye on the upcoming summer transfer window, with many players sure to be moving in and out of the club as they build towards success on and off the field under the new ownership structure.
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Here, we take a look at all of the latest news that has been swirling around Sunderland recently in our round up…
Striker pursuit update
Sunderland received a boost in their pursuit of St Johnstone striker Guy Melamed, with the News reporting that the player has turned down a fresh contract offer from the Scottish Premiership outfit.
The Israeli front man has seven goals to his name this term and as a result of his performances has attracted interest in his services from the likes of the Black Cats, Ipswich Town and Portsmouth in recent months.
Saints’ manager Callum Davidson had this to say about the situation surrounding his player’s future:
“We’ve offered him a very good contract and his agent just wants to wait and see.
‘That’s all we can do. We can’t offer money that’s not there for somebody. We have a budget, it’s been a difficult time with Covid and we’ve offered him a really good deal. The agent has said he’ll wait and see and that’s where we are.
“Obviously we can’t be paying out ridiculous money – that’s not what St Johnstone does and we can’t afford it. But there are other players out there that we’ll find and have a look at in case he doesn’t stay.
“I still think there’s more to come from Guy if he has a pre-season with us. It’s probably out of our hands at the moment.”
Charlie Wyke warning
Former Black Cats’ striker Kevin Phillips has claimed that Sunderland will struggle to keep hold of their top scorer Charlie Wyke this summer if they don’t get promotion this season.
The 28-year-old has enjoyed the finest campaign of his career to date and currently has 27 goals to his name across all competitions.
Phillips had this to say on the situation:
“From the player’s point of view, I am sure he wants to have a crack at a higher level because he is 28 now.
“I think it would be extremely difficult to keep hold of him if they don’t go up.”
Transfer blow dealt
Sunderland have also been dealt a transfer blow today, with news surfacing on the Brighton and Hove Albion website which states that former Black Cats’ transfer target Alex Cochrane has signed a new contract with the club.
The 21-year-old full back was previously of interest to the League One side in the last transfer window and it is said that they even tried to arrange a loan deal for the young prospect.
However a deal failed to materialise and the defender stayed put before heading out on loan to Royale Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium.
Cochrane’s new deal ties him to the Premier League club until the summer of 2022.