Jon McLaughlin opens up on Sunderland contract situation and opening day draw
Jon McLaughlin says he wants to stay at Sunderland beyond the final year of his contract, but is waiting for a concrete offer from the club.
The 31-year-old had a stellar debut season on Wearside, named the club’s player of the year.
He signed a two-year deal last summer and manager Jack Ross has spoken of his desire to settle the Scot’s future.
Donald added that the ‘process’ of that extension is underway.
McLaughlin has confirmed that is the case, though a resolution is clearly still some way off.
“I want to stay – I've said that from the start,” he said.
“Myself and my family are very happy here, we saw the potential and that's why we came here in the first place.
“Last year was a setback of course in the long term plan but it doesn’t derail everything you imagine is possible with a club like this, it sets it back one year as far as getting to the Championship is concerned.
“But as I've said and the manager has said, we have to wait for the owner and the powers that be to come to us because I have a year left on my contract at the moment, and until I get offered another contract there is nothing that we can do.
“You can't sign something that's not there so we just have to wait until the club conclude their other business and get everything else sorted before they come to the contracted players.
“But, yes, from my point of view I'm happy and it will be great if I could come to some agreement, but I have to wait for them to come to me.
“My agent has had a conversation with the owners and the finance guys and they said they wanted to do something and they wanted to know what we wanted, but they haven't made any offers or said this is what we'd like to do, so for the time being there is nothing on the table and that's where we find ourselves,” he added.
“I'd love to sign a new deal but the honest answer is that we want to sign the right deal, not just signed away our future if it's not right for us long-term.
“Whether it means they [the owners] don't see that that something they want to do, or they are taking the time to come back to us, I don't know, but at the moment we haven't had any more contact and in the meantime it's not a problem because I'm a contracted player and we get on with the job.
“If they come to us we will start talking but for now everybody is in the same boat, because I think there's only Aiden McGeady who has extended his contract.
“Everybody else is still on the same contract they were on last season so I'm no different to those players.”
“For a lot of teams in Leagues One and Two, when there's not a huge asset value placed on the players then they don't feel the need to tie them down until the contract is coming to an end,” he said.
“And for players as well, if you're trying to keep your options open it's the same so you quite often find that there is a lot of turnover and players are on shorter contracts.
“We can't going banging on people's doors - if they come to us and say that we deserve it and if they want to sort it out then that's great.”
McLaughlin will be a crucial part of Sunderland’s side this season, and though it began with a disappointing draw against Oxford United, the Scot is confident that results will improve as the fresh faces in the squad begin to settle.
“The fans I'm sure wanted to see something different from last year and unfortunately it was a bit of the same story with the 1-1 draw, which was our achilles heel last year,” he said.
“You can understand the frustration.
“At the same time, Oxford are a decent team.
“It's up to us to be better.
“There's some new players who have come in and everyone has to get used to that.
“We want to hit the ground running and get wins straight off the bat, but we know it'll take a bit of time for the pieces to gel together.
“We've made some positive steps with the players that have come in,” he added.
“Some of the players that have left were very big characters and leaders in our dressing room, the likes of George and Catts.
“These are guys that are hard to replace, not just on the pitch but in terms of their influence around the pitch.
“It will take time for the new lads to settle and feel completely relaxed, to express themselves fully.
“The Heerenveen game doesn't give the lads a real taste, Saturday was their first experience of that sort of atmosphere.
“They might have played against us but now the expectation is on them.
“It's a process.
“You all want to just click and play to your maximum, but of course it takes time to gel.
“I think the players we've brought in are positive and we'll only get better as the games go on.”
McLaughlin was honoured to be handed the captain’s armband for that draw, though he doesn’t expect it to be a regular occurrence.
“It was needs must!” he joked.
“Play the old man card!
“It was a nice honour to do it, for a club like this, to lead the lads out.”