Sunderland are heading into the Sky Bet Championship in limbo, with no manager following David Moyes’ departure and uncertainty surrounding their best players.
Jermain Defoe is expected to join AFC Bournemouth during the summer as a free agent and goalkeeper, Jordan Pickford, arguably Sunderland’s most influential player last season, is already in-demand.
Sunderland have reportedly turned down an £8m bid from Everton for Pickford’s service, standing firm on their £30m valuation of the player, which the Toffees are reluctant to meet.
Pickford must push through a move to Goodison Park, not just for the sake of his club career, but also to enhance his chances of challenging Joe Hart for the England goalkeeping jersey.
The 23-year old was exceptional in the Premier League during the 2016/17 campaign, and played his way into the England senior squad, where he will hope he can become a regular starter in the near future.
A move to Goodison Park, where he would expect to start ahead of Joel Robles or Maarten Stekelenburg, would hand Pickford a greater challenge than he faced with Sunderland.
Whilst Pickford may not face as many shots per game at Everton, his concentration may be tested more and the 23-year old could face the challenge of European football, following the Toffees’ qualification to the Europa League.
Sunderland have been good to Pickford, and without the club, the goalkeeper wouldn’t have come to the attention of the Premier League.
However, Sunderland are in need of a fresh approach next season in the Championship, as is Pickford – who must push through a move to Everton, to take his career to the next step.