Seven major contract decisions facing Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman - and what to expect

Sunderland do not yet know which division they will play in next season.

Sunday, 15th May 2022, 8:10 am

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The Black Cats face Wycombe Wanderers at Wembley on May 21 with promotion to the Championship on the line.

The result of that game will likely dictate how Kritsjaan Speakman will operate in the transfer market.

But there are still question marks regarding several Sunderland players and their contract situations.

Aiden McGeady is one of a number of players out of contract this summer (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

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Here, we take a look:

Bailey Wright

An absolute no brainer given Bailey Wright’s form under Alex Neil since the head coach’s arrival in January.

The Australian’s leadership and quality has shone through during Sunderland’s play-off campaign and I would expect him to be offered fresh terms.

Lynden Gooch

Lynden Gooch has improved under Neil.

The versatile American can operate across attacking midfield and at full/wing-back.

But his contract is up in the summer, My gut feeling, however, is that Gooch will be offered a new deal.

We all saw his passionate celebrations with Neil following the final whistle after the second leg against Sheffield Wednesday.

And then there was that brilliant picture of Gooch’s son being held aloft at the Stadium of Light during the first leg against the Owls,

Cut Gooch open and he would bleed red and white.

Moreover, Gooch is a genuine asset to the club when playing to his full potential and has the quality to win games.

Aiden McGeady

Aiden McGeady has been Sunderland’s brightest spark since dropping down to League One.

The attacker has provided so many moments of quality for Sunderland over four seasons in the third tier.

However, McGeady is now 36 and has spent most of the season sidelined with an injury.

Sunderland have also favoured young players in their recruitment recently, opting for the likes of Jack Clarke and Patrick Roberts on the wings of late.

If the Black Cats stick to that blueprint, it is hard to see where McGeady fits given his age and injury record, despite his years of top-notch service to Sunderland.

Jordan Willis

Jordan Willis suffered a ruptured patella tendon in February of last year, which had initially been expected to sideline him for six months.

However, a second rupture during surgery came as a major setback, ruling out his chances of playing again this season.

Following the injury last February, Sunderland did the right thing and signed Willis up to a one-year deal so he could continue his rehabilitation at the club.

But that contract is set to expire and it is hard to see where Willis fits in the club’s plans given the arrival of Danny Batth.

One thing is for certain, Willis will be desperate to play following such a long time on the injury table and I would expect his departure from Wearside this summer.

Patrick Roberts, Arbenit Xhemajli and Lee Burge

Lee Burge has recently expressed a desire to stay at the club despite being second choice to Anthony Patterson and I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays as cover.

Sunderland have an option to extend Roberts’ six-month deal, which you’d expect to be exercised given his form in the play-offs.

Like Willis, Arbenit Xhemajli has spent most of his time at Sunderland in the treatment room but given Sunderland paid a fee for the defender, they may be tempted to offer him a new deal.