Lee Johnson gives brief update on Sunderland contract latest following Luke O'Nien reports

Lee Johnson says he is not aware of any contract talks between Luke O'Nien and Sunderland at this stage.

Friday, 5th March 2021, 5:00 pm

Reports in the national media last week said that the Black Cats were on the brink of offering a new, long-term deal to the popular 26-year-old.

Sunderland undoubtedly want O'Nien to stay at the club in the long term, but Johnson said as far as he was aware there had been 'no change' in the situation at the club.

The Black Cats have a large number of players out of contract this summer, though it is believed that in some cases the club have an option to extend for a further season.

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Luke O'Nien in action for Sunderland

Johnson has already said that some decisions will be dependent on whether on not Sunderland win promotion or not this season, and what division they subsequently find themselves in next year.

The club were boosted significantly by the overturning of the League One salary cap following a legal challenge from the PFA, but there has still been some level of uncertainty over what that means in reality for clubs as a result.

Contracts will be the remit of Sporting Director Kristjaan Speakman, with input from Johnson.

The matter was set to be addressed again once the club had a better picture of what the abolition of the salary cap meant in practice.

Johnson said last month that the developments would in theory leave the club better placed to compete with Championship sides in the market, but warned that they would not be overspending.

Kyril Louis-Dreyfus has put sustainability at the heart of his long-term vision for the club.

"Yes, it definitely gives you the option of retaining players and competing with clubs in the Championship. But at the same time, you can’t over-pay," he said.

“A player is worth what he’s worth, and you’ve got to make a valid assessment on the market value of that player and make sure that every penny is spent really wisely, whether that be on a player’s contract extension or a new player coming in or promoting a young player from the academy and giving him his first pro contract.”