Building the Sunderland AFC 2020/21 squad: Assessing the goalkeeping options - and signings to replace Jon McLaughlin
In a new series, we build our ideal Sunderland AFC squad for the 2020/21 season - looking at who should be released, retained and signed.
We start with the goalkeepers; a position that is set to cause Phil Parkinson some real concern over the coming weeks and months.
Here’s where Sunderland stand, where they may need to strengthen and the key decisions facing Parkinson in the coming weeks.
CERTAIN TO STAY
The goalkeeping department is perhaps the main area where uncertainty reigns at the Academy of Light.
Currently, only Lee Burge is certain to remain on Wearside next season having penned a two-year deal when he arrived at the club last summer.
That’s good news in a sense, given that it leaves Sunderland with at least one reliable option between the sticks should other players depart.
THE QUESTION MARKS
The biggest question mark is, of course, over Jon McLaughlin.
Out of contract this summer, the Scottish international is known to be on the radar of a number of Championship clubs - with Blackburn Rovers taking a particular interest.
McLaughlin has spoken openly about his desire to remain at the Stadium of Light, but contract talks have yet to reach a positive conclusion. Understandably, that process is also thought to have slowed down given the current break in League One action.
Sunderland will undoubtedly put an offer to McLaughlin before his current terms expire, but whether that is accepted is a different question.
Keeping the 31-year-old could be one of Parkinson’s better pieces of business before next season, though.
Young stopper Anthony Patterson is also facing an uncertain future.
He signed a one-year contract last summer so could walk free on June 30.
The 19-year-old is highly-regarded by coaching staff at the Academy of Light though, with Phil Parkinson having been left impressed by the youngster’s performances in the under-23 side this term.
It is unlikely, therefore, that Patterson will be released and fresh terms are likely to be offered.
It’s understood that a number of National League and National League North sides have watched Patterson this term, so a loan move could be a possibility.
DIP INTO THE MARKET?
Much will depend on what happens with McLaughlin.
Should the experienced stopper stay - as most will hope - Sunderland will not need to add to their goalkeeping ranks.
But if we hit a worst case scenario situation where the Scot heads elsewhere, then Parkinson will undoubtedly need to act.
While Patterson is well thought of at the club, there would be doubts over whether he and Burge would provide a strong and competitive enough goalkeeping department in 2020/21.
Experience would be sought, but who could Sunderland turn to?
A quick glance at the players who are set to be released by Championship clubs this summer provides some reasonable replacements.
Jordan Archer is a proven entity at League One level and is set to leave Fulham this summer, while Adam Federici looks ready to depart Stoke City. Ben Amos at Charlton Athletic could also be a viable option.
Sunderland fans - and indeed Parkinson - will be hoping that there is no need to dip into the market before the new campaign, though.
OUR FINAL VERDICT
Retain - Jon McLaughlin and Lee Burge. While Burge is certain to stay, McLaughlin’s future is far less clear - but the Black Cats need to do whatever is necessary to keep him on Wearside. We’d also offer Anthony Patterson new terms, but wouldn’t include him in our 23-man squad.
Release - None. Sunderland’s goalkeeping options are sufficient for whichever league they find themselves in next term - provided that McLaughlin agrees new terms. Anthony Patterson could well be allowed to leave on a loan basis, though.
New signings - None are needed, unless McLaughlin leaves. Here’s hoping that isn’t the case.
OUR 25-MAN SQUAD SO FAR:
Goalkeepers: Jon McLaughlin, Lee Burge
Defenders: To come on Tuesday
Midfielders: To come on Wednesday
Forwards: To come on Thursday
WHAT DO YOU THINK?
What would you do in the goalkeeping department ahead of next season?
We’d love to hear your thoughts - either tweet them to @sunechosafc or email [email protected]