Ross Stewart’s Sunderland contract: What we know amid fresh claims and Southampton transfer interest

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What we know about Ross Stewart’s Sunderland contract amid fresh claims and transfer interest from Southampton.

Ross Stewart’s Sunderland future remains in doubt as he enters the final year of his contract - with recent transfer reports linking the striker with a move away from Wearside.

The 27-year-old is still recovering from an Achilles injury he suffered in January but gave an encouraging update to head coach Tony Mowbray this week.

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“I had a conversation with him this morning, and he said late September," said Mowbray when asked about Stewart following Sunderland’s open training session at the Stadium of Light.

"Now, that’s him saying that, not the physios, but I’m sure he’s had discussions with the physios about it.”

But will Stewart’s anticipated return spark more interest during this summer’s transfer window?

Transfer interest from elsewhere

Championship club Southampton have been heavily linked with Stewart in recent weeks, while new Saints head coach Russell Martin is a big admirer of the forward having previously tried to sign the Scot.

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"I tried to sign Ross Stewart at MK Dons but he chose Sunderland,” said Martin after his former side Swansea won 3-1 at the Stadium of Light in January. “I know exactly what he can do. It was no surprise to me that he caused us a lot of problems.”

Stoke, managed by former Sunderland boss Alex Neil, have also been credited with interest in the striker.

Stewart’s contract situation

Stewart’s contract situation does leave Sunderland in a vulnerable position, after over a year of trying to negotiate a new deal with the forward.

The Scot remains on the same contract he signed when he moved to Wearside from Ross County in January 2021, despite scoring 40 goals in 80 appearances for the Black Cats.

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Sunderland’s sporting director Kristjaan Speakman said last month he remains ‘really optimistic’ the club can reach a long-term agreement with Stewart, after defensive duo Dennis Cirkin and Trai Hume signed new contracts earlier this summer.

Yet a fresh report from Sunderland Nation has claimed the striker has rejected the Black Cats’ latest offer, meaning he could depart this summer.

Sunderland’s striker search

Even if Stewart stays at Sunderland during this summer’s transfer window, the club are still trying to sign at least one more striker.

Hemir is the Black Cats’ only recognised and available centre-forward and looks set to start next month’s Championship opener against Ipswich at the Stadium of Light.

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Still, Mowbray knows Sunderland can’t be over reliant on the 19-year-old, who only moved to Wearside from Benfica last month and has limited first-team experience.

"I think we still need some additions at the top end of the pitch and we’re working really hard behind the scenes to make that happen," said Mowbray.

"I’m pretty confident that given the timescale to the first game, we’ll have some help in that area. That said, Hemir has shown that he is a goal threat. He’s got goals from inside the box a couple of times, he looks as if there are goals in him.

“I’ve watched him in training and with that right foot, he can slap the ball in the back of the net. He just has to get up to speed with us, really, and what’s expected out of possession. Once that penny drops, he’s going to be a good player.”

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