Sunderland AFC news: £20m-rated defender Dan Ballard signs for new management agency

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The centre-back has become one of Sunderland’s most important players since arriving from Arsenal

Sunderland defender Dan Ballard has signed with a new management company after the conclusion of the 2023-24 season.

Since signing from Arsenal two years ago, the Northern Ireland international has cemented himself as a key player for the Black Cats and one of the best centre-backs in the Championship. Ballard has played 65 times in all competitions for Sunderland since 2022, including 42 league appearances last campaign.

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Following the conclusion of Sunderland’s season, Ballard has signed with General Sports Worldwide (GSW), who describe themselves as an “international full-service sports marketing and management agency.” The deal between the pair was announced on the company’s social media accounts this week.

After signing Ballard, GSW commented: “Welcome, Dan Ballard. We are delighted to announce the signing of Sunderland and Northern Ireland CH Dan Ballard to the GSW Football family. We are excited about the journey ahead.”

“At GSW we manage sports professionals,” their website adds more generally. “From: American Football, Soccer (Football), Cricket, Athletics, and Boxing. Our trusted reputation allows us to work closely with leagues, rights holders, teams, brands and associations. Offering advice and support based on years of experience, industry knowledge and commercial understanding.”

According to the company's social media, Ballard joins Rangers man Dujon Sterling and Manchester United youngster James Scanlon as clients of GSW. Ballard has been linked with a move to Premier League club Everton over the past couple of months. However, the financial situation at Goodison Park could prove problematic regarding new signings for Toffees boss Sean Dyche.

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Sunderland’s transfer chief Kristjaan Speakman is protected in the event of bids this summer after the player signed a long-term deal with the club last summer which will run until 2027 and the centre-back is not expected to leave the club this summer. Ballard's signing with GSW is not necessarily an indication that a move this summer is expected.

Given the length of Ballard's contract and his importance to the team, Sunderland are expected to ask for in the region of £20million for his services in the event of transfer enquiries, a significant profit from his £2million arrival in 2022 from Arsenal, though the Gunners may well be owed certain add-ons. Ipswich Town have also been credited with an interest in the defender.

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